Networking For a Job, Building Network Connections Or New Business

Networking is an effective way to support your job search and career goals. To get the most out of your networking, understand your goals and create a plan to achieve them. By making a conscious decision to create and execute your networking plan you will see greater results.

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  1. First understand what results you want to get from your networking activities. Are you networking because you are in job search mode? Are you looking to build your network to expand your career horizons? Is your goal to identify strategic partners? Is your networking objective to find customers? By understanding what you want to get out of your networking activities, you can best determine where to spend your efforts.
  2. Next determine where you will find the people you want to network with. Look for professional organizations, Chamber of Commerce, community groups, trade shows and educational events which would be of interest to your ideal networking contacts. Research these opportunities to understand the attendance levels and typical attendee. Determine the cost to attend the event including any membership dues.
  3. Set a goal for the number of contacts you will meet during the event. By spending 5 to 7 minutes with each contact, you could plan to meet ten people in an hour. By the end of the event you will have a sample of the attendees. You can now determine if attending this event brought you closer to achieving your networking goals.

By creating a plan for your networking activities you will have a better chance to achieve your career and networking goals. Taking the time to plan your next networking activity may take more effort before the event though your networking results will be more rewarding.

Starting an Alumni Group

Most of us change jobs every 2-3 years. Have you wished you had a way to keep in touch with your former co-workers?

I started an online alumni group during the recession in January 2002 to help find new jobs for recently laid off co-workers. The group currently has over 400 members and is still a resource for sharing job leads. Most of us are still in the Chicago area at other companies. We provide the group with unadvertised job leads, pre-interview company intelligence and internal contacts.

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Is now the time to set up a group for your former co-workers? It’s easy to do with online groups. They work as a broadcast system to distribute emails to those who have “opted in” to the group. Check out the free group tools at Linkedin, Facebook, Yahoo groups or Google groups and start your own group today. Either site walks you through selecting the options to set up your group. From personal experience, I select “restrict membership” to maintain the groups focus. I also recommend requiring membership in the group before you can post messages. This reduces the chance of getting spam.

The amount of time required to maintain your group depends on the options you choose during set up, the number of new members and member activity level. The group owner can change these options to better suit the needs of the group and time available to administer membership. Additional moderators can be appointed to help with group maintenance.

5 Reasons to Join LinkedIn Groups

Do you need more reasons to join a LinkedIn group?

For those who say they do not have time to network, here are some interesting statistics I read:

  • Percentage of elite professionals (those earning more than $200,000 per year) who say networking impacts income, according to a study from Upwardly Mobile Inc. with the assistance of the Graziadio School of Business Management at Pepperdine University: 80%
  • Percentage who believe a skilled networker could see up to a 100 percent increase in income: 58%
  • Percentage of respondents who said networking is how they found their current job: 40%

Source: uexpress.com/figurativelyspeaking

LinkedIn members, know they can connect directly with other individuals. LinkedIn groups enable collective connections with others to engage in group dialog.

Here are five reasons to join a LinkedIn group:

  • Learn from having rich discussions with others in your field, industry, geographic area, etc.
  • Identify partnership opportunities
  • Share best practices with other like-minded networkers
  • Post job openings
  • Build relationships to benefit from future employment or sales opportunities

To choose a LinkedIn group to join, search the ‘groups’ directory. You can choose from corporate, professional, industry, alumni, or geographic groups.

Join LinkedIn groups and network with others who are serious about managing their careers. You will learn and share ideas with industry experts. Members understand networking is not something you do for a short time to land a job. Networking is for life.

Post a question, offer your perspective, link to a career article or let us know about job openings. Send a note to the group and introduce yourself. What you put into the group will come back to you again and again.

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