Your networking strategy should look something like the following:
- Identify the Company
- Identify the Decision Maker
- Confirm Decision Maker Name and Title
- Send a Letter
- Follow up with a phone call to set an appointment
- Keep the appointment
- Capture other referrals
- Send a thank you letter
Identify the Company:
- Don’t overlook smaller companies and start ups sometimes the greatest job satisfaction comes from starting something rather than just stepping in where someone else left off and where eventually you will leave off too.
- Mix your list of companies with both large and small, do your research make sure they are places you would really like to work
Identify the Decision Maker:
- Once again, do your research, find out who the right person is in the company for you to see
- Use newspaper archives, company websites, research sites, and national databases
Confirm The Decision Maker:
- Call the company, state that you are confirming that Mr. John Doe is still the Director of Marketing – if he is not, then inquire who his replacement is – make sure you get the spelling of the name correct and then go on to verify the address.
Send a Letter:
- Send the person a letter explaining that you are conducting a job search; be specific that you do not expect him/her to know of or have a position open but would like to meet with them to discuss opportunities in the community etc. Close the letter by telling the person you will phone in a few days to follow up and set a time when you can get together.
Make The Phone Call:
- Set The Appointment
Keep The Appointment:
- It doesn’t matter if it is hot, cold, or in between, or even if the people in the company work in their pajamas – you show up professionally dressed. For men it’s a dark suite and tie, for women it’s the feminine equivalent – no exceptions period!
- Take a copy of your resume with you and something to take notes on.
- Don’t go into the meeting expecting it to be or treating it as a job interview – it is not! You called the meeting, you manage it. Be prepared with appropriate questions, keep it short, get your point/message across and leave.
- Before you leave the meeting make sure you ask if that person can recommend other people that you might contact. This is the reason that you’re there don’t forget. Write the names down. Now you can send a letter that says “Mr. So and So recommended that I speak with you” – – – much better than cold calling right??
Send a Thank You Letter:
- Read again, Thank You LETTER – not note! It should be digitally produced and perfect in form and content. It is a place where you can restate something you missed in the meeting and it is something that stays behind after you are gone. If someone else in the office was helpful or particularly nice, send that person a letter also. Be specific.
Now repeat the same process with every referral gathered from each meeting – this is an exponential process so get ready to work in more ways than one!