Networking Best Practices (for Getting and Excelling at Your Job) – by Sue Schnorr
I saw something highly unusual yesterday and I want to share it. It was a detailed and sincere thank you note.
John Luce sent a “Landing Notice” to his network and thanked many of the people who have helped in along the way. I had the good fortune to meet John through a Search Team I led for the Career Navigator at the United Way. He struck me as an intelligent, positive leader. He was always energetic, willing to share and help out and he did it in an authentic, “nice guy next door” way that made it easy to get to know him and like him.
So, when I saw his email note thanking and acknowledging scores of people who had helped him along the way, I wasn’t surprised. What continues to surprise me though is how most people do NOT take the time to thank others for their help. That makes people like John, who are sincerely thankful and appreciative stand out over and above the rest!
Think about it, who are you most apt to help? Someone who is appreciative and who stays in touch in a genuine manner, or someone who takes your time with no thanks and does not take interest in you, nor stays in touch. It’s a no-brainer! In addition to showing appreciation along the way, John did many things well in his networking endeavors, so I asked him to share his BEST PRACTICES.
Here are more tips from John, based on what worked well for him:
- “Networking. Note that it’s not Net-Talking, Net-Meeting, Net-Eating; it’s Net-Working. It’s work and it was absolutely helpful in my job search. It was a lot of work, I typically worked at it from 30-60 hours each week (studying, learning, meeting with people and strategizing).
- It was a lot of fun.
- You’ve got to be organized. I kept track of every activity Monday through Sunday. From online and F2F networking, phone calls, webinars, conferences and seminars to who I met, where I spent my time, where leads came from and what I learned from it.
- You need some “Me Time” to do something you love and to rejuvenate. I scheduled that in to my time each week.
- You have to have a good support system; understanding family and friends are a must. Spend time with positive people who encourage you. I now appreciate my wife and family and friends even more.
- I met a lot of wonderful, intelligent, giving people; more in the past 6 months, than I have met in the last 20 years!
- When networking, you can always learn, and find a “nugget” of wisdom or good information. Stay open and be willing to learn from others.
- Get comfortable with the fact that you’re unemployed and start talking to people about it. Educate them about what you’re good at and what you’re looking for. Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for you as well.
- I found Toastmasters to be helpful as well. It’s a great opportunity to improve your speaking and leadership abilities, especially useful when job searching.
- Always be willing to help others. This “Abundance” mentality works; give first, and things will come back to you.”
- Learn about others and help them.
- I wasn’t aware of the full value: After many years in the workforce, it was refreshing to learn that networking not only helps you find a job, it also helps you in your day-to-day life. Need an electrician? A contractor? You’ll know who to call when you’re well-networked. Similarly, when you need to stay on top of trends and best practices in your job, your network will provide them to you.”
While John said he has always felt comfortable talking to others, he did not know, at first, HOW to network, nor what to say or do. He learned from others who were willing to learn and share as well. Remember, your open-mindedness will only help you in your endeavors.
He hit on something that I believe as well, “Today’s networking is not your grandfather’s networking — you can’t just stay home and send out emails. You have to get out their and work. Let people help you and be willing to help them!”
John recently landed at Excellus. He’s excited about the opportunity and is keenly aware of how his professional competencies in networking will help him do an excellent job in his new role.
Sue Schnorr is an instructional designer who has a unique perspective on sales. She was a field sales trainer, and carried a bag for 3M. She is a certified SPIN sales trainer and has facilitated sales training for Forum and other national firms. She has designed learning solutions for MasterCard, Beckman Coulter, DuPont, Kodak, Marriott, GM Financial (formerly AmeriCredit) and United Technologies Corporation. Sue has a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology and is an adjunct professor at Walden University in the Instructional Design and Technology program.
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