Doostang News February 28: Tips for Improving Your Networking – Part 2

Investment Banking Associate, New York, NY
Sr. Marketing Consultant, Atlanta, GA
Pre-MBA Associate, Boston, MA
Change Management PM, Chicago, IL
Associate, SF Bay Area, CA

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Welcome back to our second installment of tips for improving your networking skills.  Last time we discussed the importance of taking the time to really establish a meaningful connection with someone and of exchanging stories with the person you’re speaking to.  Both of these things help make you more memorable and create a basis for further conversation.  Read on for more tips on how to effectively chat people up at those networking events that we all love, oh, so much!

Create a Transition for Your Next Conversation

Once you’ve won over a contact at a networking event, the next battle becomes following up with them in a meaningful and relevant way.  Perhaps you feel comfortable approaching new people for the first time, but freeze up when it comes to following up with someone.  A good way to make this easier is to establish some basis for follow-up.  It can be as simple as telling them that you will get back to them with some piece of information, or paying close attention to a question they had and following up once you have an answer for them.  Or it may be as bold as scheduling a lunch meeting and actually following through with it.  Whatever it is that you decide to do, try your best to keep the conversation open when you say goodbye.

Become a Resource

It’s easy to list the ways in which others might be able to help us, and to attend networking events for the sole purpose of meeting such people.  But also try to consider how you could help others and make yourself available.  People seem most eager to follow up with someone when that other person is the gatekeeper to their next dream job or perfect connection.  Yet if you leave an event and find that there is some way in which you can aid someone you just met, try to be just as enthusiastic about getting in contact with that person.  If you do this, you will build a much richer network of contacts around yourself – ones that will be more likely to go out on a limb for you.

Embrace Social Media

As a follow-up to the in-person meeting, add your new contacts to your online social network.  The advantage of professional networking sites is that they grant your contacts access to all your information, including your resume if you choose to display it.  No matter how riveting of a conversation you had with another person, they’re not always going to remember all the details, so it’s helpful to provide that information afterward as well, and in a format that they can revisit.

Networking isn’t easy, but with these tips we hope it will be easier.  Just remember that in addition to everything, it’s important to be professional, friendly, and attentive – and hopefully this will render you unforgettable!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News January 17: 3 Networking Opportunities You May be Forgetting

Analyst, New York, NY
Consultant, Chicago, IL
Analyst, San Francisco, CA
Paralegal, New York, NY
Buyside Equity Research Analyst, Dallas, TX

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When asked about their networking strategies, many people will talk about attending happy hours or industry-specific mixers in order to make contacts.  Or they’ll mention that they’ve reached out to family, friends, and old classmates to help them track down job leads.  But there are a few important networking opportunities that job seekers often miss, either because they feel these might be too awkward to use, or because they simply don’t think of these in the first place.  Here are 3 opportunities for networking that every job seeker should consider:

The Company Website

Nothing like going straight to the source.  As many well know, the best way to secure a job is to know someone on the inside.  You may have sent out hundreds of resumes in response to online postings, but heard nothing.  Indeed, this isn’t all that unusual, as many of these positions have already been filled, or the hiring manager might have received thousands of responses.  Instead, try tracking down a few names and email addresses on the company website, and establish a rapport with someone.  Try to ask a specific question about the job you’re interested in, and ask that person to refer you to the individual in charge of hiring for that position – that is, the person who will be making the decision regarding the job, not the HR department.  If there isn’t a position to be filled at the moment, at least you’ll be among the first to know when one opens up.

Professional Networking Sites

Don’t be afraid to hit up your LinkedIn network.  Conduct a search based on companies you are interested in, and reach out to people who come up.  People place their profiles on these websites to network, so don’t hesitate to do just that.  Browse through your connections’ contacts as well, and see if there is anyone you can talk to.  The worst someone can do is ignore you or tell you they’re not interested in speaking, in which case you’ve lost nothing.  Follow the advice from above, and start engaging people from your extended network in conversations.

The Guy on the Street

You never know whom you might meet when you start a conversation with a friendly stranger – and you never know whom they might know.  Disregard what your mother told you and talk to everyone!  The guy serving you coffee, the lady cutting your hair, people in line at the post office – the individuals around you every day, especially the ones in the service industry who interact with a lot of people already, know others who just might help you land your next job.  Don’t be a pest, but don’t hesitate to bring up your job search if the moment is right.

It’s important to continually remind yourself of the importance of networking when trying to secure your next job.  Bear in mind, too, that when you start networking in new and creative ways, you’re bound to see some great results!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team