How To Find A Job Through Networking, with Nathan Perez

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List. Our show is brought to you by Mac’s List, you best online source for rewarding, creative and meaningful work. Visit macslist.org to learn more. You’ll find hundreds of great jobs, a blog with practical career advice and our new book, “Land Your Dream Job in Portland and Beyond.” Welcome to our podcast, Find Your Dream Job. Every week, we bring you the career tools and tips you need to get the job you want.Joining me are Ben Forstag, managing director of Mac’s List and Cecilia Bianco, community manager of Mac’s List. Ben, Cecilia, how are you?

Cecilia Bianco:

Good, Mac. How are you?

Mac Prichard:

Doing great; Ben?

Ben Forstag:

I’m having a great week.

Mac Prichard:

Good. Every week we bring Ben and Cecilia to you, our audience, so that they can share with you resources and answer your questions. Let’s start with Ben. He spends his week among other things, looking in the nooks and crannies of the internet for blogs, podcasts and other tools you can use in your job search. Ben, what do you have for us this week?

Ben Forstag:

Mac, this week I bring you more than one resource.

Mac Prichard:

You’re rocking my world here.

Ben Forstag:

I know. I’m going to start collecting overtime soon. I’m bringing you 5 resources and these are my own top 5, can’t miss professional networking opportunities. We sell an e-book on the Mac’s List website. That e-book contains a list of 100 networking opportunities. I’m not going to do all 100. That would take forever and it would cost you a whole lot of money in overtime, Mac. These are my own personal top 5. These are opportunities to get face-to-face with people in your community and folks who work in the sectors where you want to work.

They are opportunities to expand your network within your field of interest and build relationships that can help you land a future job and/or advance your career. As you know, the one tip we give all job seekers in one word is?

Cecilia Bianco:

Networking.

Ben Forstag:

That’s right, Cecilia. We’ll start with #5. Number 5 is the young nonprofit professional’s network, YNPN. This is an organization I’m sure you guys have heard of. They’re very active here in Portland. They have a great event every month. I’ve been to some of their events on the east side, but as you say, they’re a national organization. They are dedicated to training emerging leaders to become active social change-makers. They have 42 chapters in cities around the country so if you’re not here in Portland, I’m sure there’s a YNPN chapter somewhere near you. They have regular networking educational events. It’s a great group of folks and you don’t necessarily need to be in a nonprofit to be a part of this organization. The other key thing with this is membership in YNPN is actually free. You have to pay for some events, but you can be a member and get a lot of their resources for free. You can learn more at YNPN.org.

Mac Prichard:

Coincidentally, Ben, I was on vacation last week visiting family in Iowa and of course, I met somebody for lunch on my vacation. We were standing in line in a coffee shop and he introduced me to the president of the YNPN chapter in Rock Island, Illinois.

Ben Forstag:

That is synergy right there, Mac!

Number 4 is Network After Work. Have you guys heard of this one?

Cecilia Bianco:

I have heard of this one. I haven’t attended, though.

Mac Prichard:

This is a new one to me.

Ben Forstag:

Okay, so Network After Work is actually a nationwide organization and they host networking events for professionals to attend. They have 50 chapters in cities all around the country. They said last year that they had 1 million people participate in their events. These are typically informal networking mixers held in a local restaurant, a bar or other social venue. They tend to be pretty trendy places where they host these events. They’re paid events, but they’re generally less than 20 dollars. A great way just to meet folks in your community, meet folks, other working professionals and so forth. You can learn more about them at networkafterwork.com.

Number 3… this is one of my personal favorites: Ignite conferences. Cecilia, you ever heard of Ignite?

Cecilia Bianco:

I haven’t, no.

Mac Prichard:

I’m actually familiar, Ben, with the Ignite presentation. I’ve been to conferences where, I think the custom is you have 5 minutes and 20 seconds a slide and if you get out of sequence with your slide, you have to catch up frantically.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah. These are essentially TED type of presentations. They tend to be a little bit more accessible, though, and much more affordable. They’re usually only 2-hour long events. The general deal with them is that presenters share their personal passions using 20 slides at auto advance every 15 seconds, for a total of just 5 minutes. I’ve gone to several of these events, both in D.C. and in Portland and they are fantastic. You hear all kinds of cool things. It’ll be a presentation about healthcare right next to a presentation about beekeeping. The important thing is you meet really interesting people there and make great professional connections that you can leverage later on. They have events all around the country and indeed, all around the world. Here in Portland, they’re on the 13th iteration of this. You can find local events at igniteshow.com.

Number 2 is EventBrite. EventBrite is not an organizer of events per se, but it’s a technology platform that a lot of organizations use to manage their events. In fact, Mac’s List uses EventBrite to manage our own events. The nice thing with EventBrite is if you go there, you can actually search all the events that people have put on using that technology according to location, subject matter, number of people participating, all this stuff and you can find out a lot of events that you might not have ever heard of anywhere else. I definitely suggest people check that out. That’s at eventbrite.com.

Mac Prichard:

One of the things I like about EventBrite is once you register, you sign up to attend an event, there’s a record of all the events you’ve attended in the past so if you’re trying to get in touch with an organization or look for contact information or recall an event where you might have met someone, it’s there in your EventBrite account.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, that’s definitely nice.

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah. It’s also a really great tool if you’re going to host an event. It’s one of the best tools out there. We always use it and it’s super helpful. It lets you share the guest list with people and it’s a great tool.

Mac Prichard:

For a time, we used eVite and then we moved to EventBrite. Why did you make that choice?

Cecilia Bianco:

I think just because EventBrite has so many more options. It’s more searchable and more people are able to find our event and it’s easier to manage the guest list. It’s just a better tool.

Mac Prichard:

Good tips.

Ben Forstag:

Great, so it works both for folks who are organizing events and people who are looking to network through events.

My #1 networking tool, this is my personal favorite. It’s an oldie, but goodie. It’s Meetup.com. I know everyone here has heard of Meetup.com.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. I’m ancient enough that as you both know, I worked for elected officials on political campaigns and I remember when Meetup.com was defined by the Howard Dean campaign in 2003. That’s how they first came to prominence. Howard Dean has certainly faded from the political scene, but Meetup.com not only endures, but it’s gotten bigger and much, much better.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah and in fact, Meetup has become a noun in and of itself. “We’re going to a meetup.” The site has been around for a long time and it provides hyper-targeted local groups based around personal or professional interests. Literally, whatever your interest is, I’m sure there’s other folks in your neighborhood and your community who want to meet up and talk about that. I did a quick search of the Portland groups. There’s plenty of professional groups that meet through Meetup. If you’re a techie, there’s just about any kind of programming language, there’s a Meetup group. If you’re a vampire, there’s a Meetup group for you here in Portland and you can find other vampires. Participation varies city-by-city, I understand. In Portland, it is a very active network; other cities, not so much. You can learn more about Meetups at Meetup.com.

Mac Prichard:

I know many of our listeners are in the nonprofit world or want to work with nonprofits and one of the Meetup groups that you can find nationally, including here in Portland, is Tech 4 Good. I’m familiar with the Portland event. It is organized by the staff of the National Technology Education Network, NTEN, which is a terrific national group. It is a wonderful place for meeting people who are interested in technology, social change and nonprofits.

Ben Forstag:

The nice thing about that group is you don’t need to be a techie to get it. A lot of what they do is educating lay people like me and you in how to use this technology for good.

Mac Prichard:

Well, thank you, Ben. That was a wonderful list. Do you have a suggestion for Ben? You can write him. His email address is Ben at macslist.org. We encourage you to reach out to Ben and he may share your idea on a future show.

Let’s move on. It’s time to hear from you, our listeners. Every week, Cecilia goes through her mail bag or her inbox these days and pulls out a question from our listeners. Cecilia, what do you have for us this week?

Cecilia Bianco:

This week, a reader wrote in and asked what should I do when someone promises to help me at a networking event and then ghosts me? I have to admit, I had to Google what ghosting was. I wasn’t quite clear. Have you guys heard this term before?

Ben Forstag:

I have.

Mac Prichard:

I have, as well. I first became aware of it; I saw it in the New York Times earlier this year. It had a celebrity angle. Apparently, when Charlize Theron broke up with Sean Penn, she according to the Times ghosted him, which meant cutting him off on all of her social media channels and not responding to his texts and phone calls.

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah, it makes sense.

Ben Forstag:

Mac, I’m glad to hear that you stay up-to-date on the celebrity news!

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah, so ghosting is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when you poof, disappear and you promise something and then you don’t follow through. Maybe you’re ignoring the person. In this case, a job seeker went to an event and was promised help in her job search and then never heard back from the person.

I know this has happened to me before and I’ve also been guilty of the other end which I feel bad about, so I know that it’s important to follow up at least twice when this happens to you. I had a student reach out to me through email asking for help. Obviously, I wanted to help her, but we’re busy as professionals. I’ll flag the email and then think I’ll get to it later and forget, so sending a follow-up email is definitely appropriate and sending at least 2 is great. What do you think, Mac?

Mac Prichard:

I think that’s absolutely right. I think sometimes and I’ve been in this position, too, where I’ve reached out to someone, I haven’t heard and I interpret their silence as rejection. What I’ve learned is by making a 2nd or even a 3rd attempt, I usually get a response, almost always, actually. I know as a job seeker, it’s hard to make that 2nd attempt or even the 3rd, but I think people will be pleasantly surprised by the result. It’s as you say, people get busy and I certainly have been guilty of it, too. I try very hard to get back to everyone in as timely a manner as I can, but sometimes, things fall through the cracks. A reminder is always welcome.

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah, definitely, and I always suggest waiting 4-5 days before sending a 2nd follow-up just so you can give them a chance. If they have it saved in their inbox, they might respond, they’re just busy, so waiting a few days, see if they follow up and then follow up again. I think probably after 3, it’s time to let it go. What do you guys think?

Ben Forstag:

I think that’s probably good advice.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. One thing I do on my 3rd message, I just do a very brief and I’ll just say, “I don’t want to be a pest, I’ll just wait to hear from you.” I almost always hear back.

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah. I have responded to this reader and she followed up with me and asked if it matters how she follow up with a person. If they’ve only communicate through email, is it a bad idea to follow up with a phone call? I thought it was a great question because you can definitely get someone’s attention quicker with a phone call, but I was more inclined to tell her it’s a bad idea just because you might not want to put them on the spot by calling when you communicate usually through email. I think it’s better to stick with the mode of communication you’ve used with this person in the past, but what do you think? I know a phone call obviously gets their attention quicker.

Ben Forstag:

I think you’re right. I think a phone call is more likely to upset someone or put someone on the spot and a job seeker really has very little to gain from upsetting a professional reference or a contact. If they don’t want to speak to you for whatever reason, that’s unfortunate, but you should move on and if you’ve emailed them 3 times, I think that’s sufficient effort to reach out to them.

Cecilia Bianco:

I agree. Overall, follow up 3 times and no more than that, then let it go, but don’t take it personally because you never know why someone is not responding. Don’t feel bad about yourself and go out and meet new people and get help in another way.

Mac Prichard:

That’s great advice. Thank you, Cecilia, and thank you for that question. If you have a question for Cecilia, you can email her. Her email address is Cecilia@macslist.org.

These segments by Ben and Cecilia are sponsored by the Mac’s List Guides, publisher of our new book, “Land Your Dream Job in Portland and Beyond.” The Mac’s List Guides give you the tools you need to get the job you want. We show you how to crack the hidden job market, stand out in a competitive field and how you can manage your career. In each of the book’s 8 chapters, experts share job hunting secrets like how to hear about positions that are never posted and what you can do to interview and negotiate like a pro. You can download the 1st chapter of the book for free, just visit macslist.org/macslistguides.

Now it’s time to talk to our expert. Let’s turn to our guest this week. It’s Nathan Perez who is the co-author of the acclaimed job searching networking books, “The 20-minute Networking Meeting,” Executive and Graduate Editions. Nathan is an executive recruitment professional and he’s responsible for finding qualified candidates for search engagements and he also speaks and holds workshops nationally on the topics of job search, networking and relationship building for business.

Nathan, thank you for joining us.

Nathan Perez:

Thank you, too.

Mac Prichard:

Okay. In preparing for our conversation today, I did my homework and I have to say I’m in awe because in looking at your LinkedIn profile, I see that you are one of the 10 most-connected people on the planet on LinkedIn. How did you make that happen?

Nathan Perez:

Part of the nature of my work is to make sure that I have an expanded network. My role in executive search is actually the 1st step of an executive search process. When companies come to us to hire, they hire us to find new executive leadership for their company. My job responsibility is to devise a strategy as to where and how to find qualified candidates.

LinkedIn is one of my tools, one of my primary tools and it’s in my best interest to have a wide network because LinkedIn works on the premise of 3 degrees of separation. That means the more people that I know, the further reach I have globally.

It was a matter of reaching out. Once I started reaching out, networks started to expand. People began to find me through the same network. The people that I was connecting to, right, that 1st degree, eventually got to 2nd degree and that’s your extended network. That extended network started to come to me, as well and then the numbers started to double.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s talk about networking. It’s a word that people who are looking for work always hear, “You’ve got to network, you’ve got to network” and one of the pieces of advice that we give job seekers and I know you do, as well, is reach out to others for networking or informational interviews.

Nathan Perez:

Right.

Mac Prichard:

Let’s just drill down on the basics here. What is a networking meeting or an informational interview, Nathan?

Nathan Perez:

A networking meeting or even an informational interview, sometimes there’s a fine line, but there’s a distinct difference. A networking meeting is all about sitting down with an individual to obtain information. I think lots of times, just the word networking itself brings with it a negative connotation and people liken it to name dropping or that glad-handing, greasy activity, this thing that no one really wants to do so they avoid it. Really, what it is, is just the exchange of information.

Mac Prichard:

One of the most provocative things that you say, I think, is that you can have a 20-minute meeting with someone and walk away with information and contacts and tips that will help people with their job search. Tell us, how do you do that?

Let’s back up. How do you arrange a meeting like that, what do you ask for and what do you do when you walk in the door?

Nathan Perez:

Often times, as far as networking requests go, time is the deciding factor as to whether or not someone is going to accept the networking request. Even if let’s say, up front you were hoping to request a networking meeting via email, even by phone, because time is the deciding factor, making it brief and succinct is what’s key.

As far as the information contained within 20 minutes, what you’re really doing is truncating a process that already exists. For example, if you and I were to sit down for a few minutes and I were just to ask you this one question, “Do you think I should go find another job?” There’s going to be a whole host of questions that come back to me. What do you mean, Nathan? Do you mean should you go find one now, should you go find one later, in your same line of work, a whole different industry change, whatever it may be. What you’re doing is you’re taking all of that information and you’re packaging it into something that’s much smaller and you’re presenting it up front. You’re, therefore, giving that person, your networking contact, context as to what your background is, where you are right at this moment and then you ask a set of questions that are thought provoking. This is homework that you do, these questions that you ultimately ask your contact to further your knowledge. You’re tapping into their expertise and their knowledge to further your own to inform your own job search.

Mac Prichard:

Like you, I get a lot of requests for people who want networking meetings and I’m always impressed by the people who can come in and do 3 things in 20-30 minutes. For me, a successful meeting is one where someone introduces themselves and shares their story. That’s the first thing they get done. The second is to your point, they ask questions, not big broad questions, but strategic ones about their career goals or their opportunities in the industry and the third thing I see people do really well is ask for contacts.

Nathan Perez:

I had mentioned that time is a deciding factor. What one should avoid is misusing that time. Mind you, it’s misusing that other person’s time and your own, as well. Going in unprepared, not knowing who your networking contact is, in fact not knowing who their company, what their company does and what their company mission may be because knowing something about that person’s company should tell you quite a bit about that person, as well. Going in unprepared and going in without an agenda or structured use of time is probably the biggest mistake you can make.

That’s often times and for anybody who’s listening and Mac, I’m sure you would agree with this; often times, when we accept a networking meeting and it goes longer than we anticipated or than we thought or longer than that person promised, it makes us a little more wary to do it again.

If you think about time, if I were to maybe put into perspective of what time looks like, just 1 hour which a lot of folks believe should be the length of a networking meeting; 1 hour adds up very quickly.

For instance, if you have small children or if you have younger siblings, you know that there’s not enough hours in a day to take care of small kids. If you were to think of it from a monetary standpoint; if you’re a consultant who charges 150 dollars an hour, for instance, and someone is asking you for a networking meeting and you say yes to that request, that’s a 150-dollar gift of time. If you think about what that looks like over 1 week, 2 weeks, over the course of a month, how many times do you give away a 150-dollar gift? I would say the biggest of them all is probably the misuse of time.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, that’s a good point. I also want to second a point you made a moment ago about having a clear ask for the meeting. I, as you know, have worked in government and public policy and politics, and have done a lot of government relations work. There is an old lobbyist I knew in D.C. who said the definition of a failed meeting was one where there was no clear ask and then when people got up at the end of the appointment, there was no homework for the other party. I think again to your point, having that ask and being clear about what you want to get from the meeting is crucial.

Nathan Perez:

I would agree.

Mac Prichard:

When you see people who are just superstars at networking and informational interviews, what do they do that makes them stand out, Nathan? What kind of examples come to mind? I know you’ve talked to hundreds, I’m sure thousands of people over the years.

Nathan Perez:

Right. There’s a handful of things. I think one of the primaries is listening, really engaged in the conversation. Staying present is really key because we all know, we can sense and we can also see when someone is not engaged in the conversation. Listening is one of them.

Also, staying engaged and staying present also allows you to keep track of time. We all know innately how much time has passed to some extent or another. Sure, maybe it’s within a few minutes, but we get that, combined with knowing what we want to go in and talk about and being able to present that in a way that’s very clear, concise and simple. The longer time that we take with a networking contact and the more information that we drop on that contact, the more difficult it is for that person to keep track of everything and to keep you in context. By being succinct and brief, we manage to put our own experiences or whatever it is that we want to talk about, that clear ask, into context and into perspective in just a small time frame. That allows for a really powerful and informing conversation.

Mac Prichard:

So have a clear ask, be succinct, do your homework, look at the web site, other resources before you walk in the door. What are some other tips you have for people that you’ve seen other job seekers and career professionals use to stand out?

Nathan Perez:

The people that have had the most successful networking meetings with me in particular are those who are informed, not of just my background, but their own. When they ask the questions, they’re asking at a deeper level than something that’s more obvious.

For instance, I’m going to take the legal profession as an example. Right now, the landscape of the hiring side of the legal profession and the legal profession itself is changing. Smaller companies are being taken by bigger ones and what that means is that the people who are in the smaller ones either get pushed out or they get enveloped into this big thing, this sort of monstrous machine. If you are an aspiring legal aid or attorney and you were to learn about how this information is working, you can come into a networking meeting and ask very informed questions that gives you a further insight into the hiring practice or the industry itself. That in turn could do a handful of things, one of which is completely change the course of your job search or whatever your networking efforts may be. You may learn something that makes you think twice about what you’re doing, whether it’s for the better or whether it’s just a change in tracks. All that information is good.

It’s people who come in really informed with the topic that they’re going to talk about.

Mac Prichard:

Often when I talk to people about their goals, sometimes people say to me, well, I don’t want to close out my options. I want to be open to everything. I think as we both know, the challenge there is that if you’re open to everything, it’s hard to pursue something and there are just too many doors that are open.

As we talk, I know our listeners are thinking about the challenges of and doing networking meetings like this. Let me rattle off a couple that I often hear and I expect you do and get your advice about how to overcome them. What do you say, Nathan, to people who say gosh, I just don’t have any contacts?

Nathan Perez:

That’s something that I hear all the time. The fact of the matter is, is that we know a lot more people than what we think we do. We just perceive them as they belong in a different bucket. These are my friends, these are my family and these are my neighbors over here. If you take away those titles, they are people that you know. A personal and professional network is comprised of people that we know. If you ever meet someone through one of the people that you know, that person becomes an extended part of your network.

I often say when I give presentations and sometimes I get pushback here, I say that it’s not just the people that you know or even the people that you meet through them. Every single person that you have ever met and I’ll explain this in a second; every single person that you have ever met is actually an extended part of your network. That might be dormant, but the moment that you reach out to someone who you’ve only met once and you ask them for help, you bring to life an extended part of your network, but again, not just that person, but any person that you might meet through them.

If I were to put this in a really clear perspective, it’s imagine that you don’t know a single soul on Earth but that one person, but imagine that person knows 50 people. Immediately, you have multiplied your network by 51 people. If each one of those people know 50 people, you can see how quickly your network actually adds up to people that you do know and you can also see how quickly you can obtain any kind of information to achieve your networking goals that you can really imagine.

Mac Prichard:

What is the one thing that you should never do in a networking meeting, Nathan?

Nathan Perez:

You should never take, take, take. Networking is all about reciprocity. It’s back and forth. It is really not unlike, let’s say when you do a Google search and you send out the query, it sends it down the network. The answer comes back from the servers along the network and there you have it. There’s always give and take. Impressions are everything out there. Perceptions, if perception really matters, they’re real and what you want is to make sure you are giving the sense that you are someone who cares and who is willing to help in return.

As I mentioned earlier, time is a gift and when we take it without giving back, that’s not something that’s really forgotten in the long run.

Mac Prichard:

Finally, what should you do after a networking meeting? What action should they take?

Nathan Perez:

Keep your network alive by following up. You always want to thank someone for their time. Even though you may have thanked them up front during the email when they accepted the request and even though you had the presence of mind to say thank you again when you were in person when you sat down with them, but after the meeting you want to follow up with them, thanking them again.

More importantly, well just as importantly is what I should say, you should follow up with the person who introduced you to that person if in fact, you were introduced to that person through someone else.

Mac Prichard:

You have a new book coming out. Tell us about it.

Nathan Perez:

It’s going to be the professional edition. There’s the executive edition of the 20-Minute Networking Meeting and then earlier this year there was the publication of the graduate edition. Anybody who has returned to school or who is coming out of school and knows that they need to network for a job, that’s that book.

This one is going to be the professional edition that is every one in between; if you’re not an executive, if you’re not a graduate, it is everyone in between.

Over the years, I’ve had quite a few different jobs. That’s everything from a lifeguard to a professional, I have 20 years as a professional actor and writer and I worked on Wall Street at one point. This is going to address all of those people who are not in one of those other 2 categories.

Mac Prichard:

Nathan, where can people find you online and learn more about you, the books and the services you offer?

Nathan Perez:

At 20-minute Communications, which can be found at www.20mnm.com.

Mac Prichard:

Great. Thank you so much for joining us. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show.

Nathan Perez:

Thank you, too.

Mac Prichard:

We’re back with Ben and Cecilia. What did you two think of what Nathan had to share with us today?

Cecilia Bianco:

I thought he had some great tips and I think his most important tip was to be clear and succinct. I know I get some emails that are super long with detailed backgrounds of people just sharing what they’ve been doing and what they want from me. I’d rather just get a 20-minute hey I want to talk about this, can you meet for coffee sometime next week? I think his tips on that were really great.

Mac Prichard:

I’m a big fan of brevity and I always like the emails that say I’d like 20-30 minutes of your time to talk about A, B and C. I especially like the emails, I know I have to admit I’m a bit detailed about this, that say I could meet with you on these times on these dates, but let me know what might work for you.

How about you, Ben? What did you think?

Ben Forstag:

I thought the most important thing he said was about the size of your network and that your network is bigger than “your professional network.” This really resonates with me because when I think about the network that I’ve leveraged the most in my job search and in my professional life, it’s actually not my professional contacts, it’s the contacts I made when I was working at a summer camp. Those people who I had a real close relationship with, they’re all around the country, all around the world now and they’re all involved in a variety of industries. I’ve been able to use those relationships in a bunch of different positive ways, both professionally and personally.

Mac Prichard:

I’d agree with that, as well. I recently was trying to identify how I might get in to see someone at a national nonprofit communications director and I discovered that one of my neighbors that actually worked at that organization and not only knew this communications director, but she had gone to high school with this person in Maryland. It was a completely unexpected connection because my neighbor and I knew each other through walking dogs and seeing each other at the block party, but we also had this other connection that didn’t come from LinkedIn or an informational interview.

Ben Forstag:

I think this brings up an interesting point which is when we start thinking about networks being this everyone you know component, it can sometimes feel daunting; you’re always on the clock or you’re always doing a job search. I think if you’re a novice at networking, it certainly would feel like that. I think the key is you have to make this informal networking and communication and relationship building something that’s just part of your life and something that you’re comfortable with so that it doesn’t feel like a job in and of itself; it’s just something that you do.

Mac Prichard:

Cecilia, I know you’ve learned a lot about networking in the 2 years you’ve been with Mac’s List. Do you have 1 or 2 pieces of advice for listeners who are just getting started?

Cecilia Bianco:

Yeah. I think what Ben just brought up is important because I know just right graduating out of college, it’s hard to feel like you need to build your professional network and you don’t really know where to start. It’s important to start with friends, family and rely on your university’s network. That’s one of the best tools you can use when you first graduate and after for seasoned professionals when you look back. Those alumni LinkedIn groups are great and really, they never die. I’m still looking at mine all the time and it’s really active.

Looking to friends and family is a really easy way to start so I suggest to anyone who is new to networking, start there because you’ll be more comfortable and it makes it all a lot easier.

Mac Prichard:

Great advice. Thank you, Cecilia. Thank you, Ben. Thank you, our listeners, for joining us. We’ll be back next week with more tools and tips to help you find that dream job. In the meantime, find us at macslist.org and you can sign up for our free newsletter there with more than 100 new jobs every week. If you like what you hear on our show, you can help us by leaving a review, a comment and a rating at iTunes. Thanks.

Did you know that you can find a job by networking? This is how up-to 80% of all jobs get filled.

It’s a fact… employers hire candidates that they know and those who are recommended to them by people that they trust. That’s why networking is so important: it gets you face-time with fellow professionals and kickstarts relationships that get you known in the community.

When you’re looking for a job, one of the best things you can do is conduct informational interviews with professionals in your desired field. But how do you find the right people with whom to meet? And what are the takeaways you can expect from these meetings?

This week’s guest, Nathan Perez, explains how to build your professional network and conduct short, effective informational interviews that help you land a job.

This Week’s Guest

Nathan Perez, an executive recruiter and writer who has mastered the art of networking. According to Huffington Post, Nathan is one of the most connected people on LinkedIn, with 30,000 professional contacts. He is also the co-author of The 20-Minute Networking Meeting, a primer on how to conduct successful informational interviews.

Resources from this Episode