Networking 101

All too often these days young professionals, and you know who you are, are blatantly asking new acquaintances for job leads.  What agency will be there?  What agencies are looking to hire?  At a recent Marketing/advertising/Finance meet-up in New York City, those statements were posted on the home page long before the actual get together was taking place. What?

I responded to the poster that they need to attend meetings, get to know people and offer their expertise however light it maybe then ask for networking leads and not job openings.  Yes they responded well to my declarative statement and I did meet a couple of those people who did come to the meet-up.  Another YP (young professional poster) didn’t come when they found out not enough of the “agency” folk were attending.

YP’s please keep the following 5 steps to Networking in mind for future events, outreach.

1.  Not everyone at the Meet-up, networking professional association, event, is there to job search, some people actually come for social reasons so your direct “What jobs do you have for me?” Will be met on deaf ears.

2. Professionals, and that is what you are ascribing to be,  introduce themselves in person first and promote their elevator speech.  For example: “I’m Jeff and work in financial private equity.  I’m looking to transition to investor relations, might you have any advice for me?”

3.  Not everyone you meet and give your elevator speech too will be able to help you and in fact most will not. There is the chain of networking that is the excellent center of networking – to be able to refer you on to someone who someone knows who might be the right contact for the kind of work, clients, contractor, financial rep, etc. that you are looking for.

4. Present yourself as the professional you want to beNetworking is a two-way street.  If your speech is all about you – you will be limiting your goals and expectations.

5.  Learn to listen.  As the fellow you meet is speaking about themselves take note to ask their interests and see if you might have anything to offer them – other than yourself working for them.  You have neighbors, colleagues, alums from the school’s you went to.  Social Media is a great way to start those connections.

If you don’t have a #Twitter, #LinkedIn or #Facebook account you’re probably not a young professional!  Many people are shy at first to ask for a connection on LinkedIn but the person can only say no, or delay replying for months. Ha! Ha! Not that it happens too often ;0)

So have the elevator pitch on hand,  but first don’t forget to say Hello, and shake their hand and listen at your next networking event!

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