Thus far, I’ve provided tips for the application process. But how do you get noticed beforehand?
It’s true that it’s all about who you know. Applying for a job already knowing employees, the culture and company goals gives you a great advantage – and doesn’t have to be painful.
So let’s talk about networking.
1. Networking is NOT about asking people to do the work for you. Oregonians are friendly – but no one wants to feel like they’re being asked by a stranger to go find them a job. Approaching networking as a learning experience rather than a solicitation is not only more tactful, it creates a genuine connection.
2. Get smart. Classes and workshops are great ways to hone skills. Furthermore, you network naturally during these events.
3. Attend industry events, and avoid general networking events. Most general events expect you to start conversations out of thin air and cocktails. Like going to nightclubs expecting to meet your spouse, it’s possible, but not realistic. Attending industry events ensures you’ll be mingling with more than just job seekers, AND you’ll have something relevant to talk about with those you meet.
Hint: Looking for a green job? Check out Green Drinks.
4. When introducing yourself, show genuine interest. Don’t start off talking about yourself. Keep things conversational, and be genuine. Overselling is off-putting. Get to know THEM!
Hint: Even more tips here.
5. Bring a friend! I’m a recruiter, but I still get nervous! Go with a buddy and make it social and more fun!
6. Follow up. I’m amazed at how many people ask for my card, but never follow up. If you’re serious about networking, connect via email or LinkedIn, and continue the conversation.
Hint: Remind them how you met. A recruiter often meets 100+ people at an event – this helps you stand out!
7. Get involved. Volunteering can translate well into finding people who work in cultures that fit your philosophy and goals. And it is valuable experience for the resume!
8. Use LinkedIn. Keep your profile updated, and know its features. If you’re serious about networking, consider this a higher priority than Facebook. Just sayin’.
9. When you attend Career Fairs, do your homework. Learn about the companies who will be there. It’s much more impressive to me to talk with people who have researched us and have smart questions.
10. Turn the tables. The best way to feel better is to help someone else. Be a connector to others. What goes around comes around.
Hint: Know someone interested in tech startups? Lunch 2.0 is where it’s at.
It’s not always going to feel natural to network, but remember, as in anything new, the more you practice, the easier it gets. I promise.
Have questions? Please feel free to comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn!
This is the fourth in a series of top 10 tips by Portland recruiter Aimee Fahey on how to get a job in Oregon. Here are the earlier posts:
1. The Resume
Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user i.am.rebecca