A: Share the good news. First of all, congratulations are in order. Time to celebrate your success and show your gratitude by thanking all the people who helped you along the way (directly or indirectly).
- Create a communication plan for yourself to announce your good news and to ensure people know where you are moving to. It is paramount that you update your Linkedin profile immediately, by adding your new position. Linkedin will help communicate your change in status by including your change along with the other updates to people’s profiles. Your communication plan should also include personal outreach to key people via telephone, email and face to face interactions.
- Renew your commitment to networking. Even though your daily schedule is going to radically change now that you have secured full time employment, you must renew your vows to regular networking. The best time to network is when you have a job. You are in the best position to help yourself and to help others when you are gainfully employed and working. Always remember that!
- Disciplined daily networking. Get into the discipline of time blocking your calendar and prioritize some part of each day and each week to networking outreach. Leverage social media networking sites to stay connected with existing contacts and continuously make new ones. Keep your contact database current, by continuously updating and adding people details. Strive to be consistent and prompt in your networking follow-up. Set high standards for yourself.
- Keep the karma going. It’s time to pay-it-forward by making yourself available for networking for people in need, including people are currently employed. Make time for them, as others made time for you.
Q: You have been in contact with a top executive. He has granted you a face to face informational interview in the past. He also is quick to respond to you via Linkedin, but when you ask him to lunch again, he replies with a short message, ‘That would not be possible.’ What do you make of this and what should you do next?
A: Patience and persistence will pay off.
- Don’t take it personally. Don’t read into it too much. This is simply a declined meeting offer. It is not a personal rejection. You have probably caught this person at a busy or frustrated time in their life.
- Review the nature of your request. Did you include the purpose/intent of your meeting invitation or did it come off as a non-business social invitation? Take note for next time you approach an executive to be more business-like in your meeting/networking request.
- Suggest an alternative. Inquire if there is a better venue or meeting time in which to connect. Perhaps a telephone conversation would be more convenient for your executive contact?
- Thank the executive. No matter what the outcome (getting together or not), take the time to thank the executive and his/her administrator for their time and trouble. Let them know that you value their time and appreciate their continued openness to network and stay connect.
- Look for ways to add value. You may not have gotten the meeting you wanted when you wanted it, but consider how you can add value to their executive’s life in the future. Be on the look out for articles that this executive would value, connections or resources that would assist him/her. If you are a good writer or speaker, consider interviewing and quoting him/her on a topic you are publishing or presenting.
- Keep them in your network. Never write off people, even if they are non-responsive. They should remain in your network; although you can adjust how much time and energy you put towards that relationship. It may become a more meaningful connection in the future.
Q: Your friend is growing weary of all this networking activity. He really just needs to land a job and start working again. He wonders why he has to go to all this effort to connect with new people. How do you help him deal with his doubt and uncertainty over the networking process?
A: Embrace networking as a lifestyle, not only as an activity linked to job search.
- Hold his hand. The buddy system works well in networking. When attending events, go with your friend and introduce him around. Teach him a few networking skills, model the right behavior and bring a positive, energized attitude to your networking relationships. This will help him as well as help you.
- Help him be more marketable. Networking is a great activity to build your visibility and value in the community. Encourage him to increase his exposure to people through events, seminars, workshops, charitable events, volunteer groups, association meetings. Invite him to join you at a free library seminar on leveraging social media for job search.
- Share resources. Exchange books, blogs and other inspirational and educational resources to help him see the value of networking. Give him examples of how networking has helped you make important connections and secure new opportunity.
- Challenge him. Encourage him to conduct a ‘networking experiment’ to see how quickly he can make an important new connection that you both agree on. Get competitive in a friendly way and challenge him in a Linkedin contest. See which one of you can reach XXX level 1 contacts first on Linkedin.Celebrate the success when the goal is achieved.
- Shield yourself from negativity. Although your goal is to help lift him out of his fear, doubt and uncertainty, don’ allow his negative energy to bring you down. Set limits and give him feedback. Misery loves company and this may be a party that you don’t want to attend.
Your Networking Goal for this Week
Get together this week with someone from your network who is currently in job search mode. Discuss one or more of the nine networking challenges that have been shared in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series. Come up with your own solutions and ideas. Consider sharing your solution to these challenges with your contacts on Linkedin or share your ideas with us on Facebook. Whatever your current challenges, don’t let them hold you back or keep you down. Motivate and equip yourself with good people, good ideas and good intentions. You will prevail and grow forward in a way that is best for you.
About the writer: Kathy McAfee is known as America’s Marketing Motivator and is author of the book Networking Ahead for Business (Kiwi Publishing 2010). In her role as Executive Presentation Coach and Professional Speaker, Kathy helps her clients to become the recognized leaders in their fields by mastering the art of high engagement presentations and more effective networking and connecting. To learn more about Kathy, visit her web site MarketingMotivator.net. To receive free weekly networking tips, sign up at NetworkingAhead.com