Today, getting a job is about WHO you know, NOT, WHAT you know. This is where networking comes in. When done right, you can make connections and form relationships that can help you get your desired position.
However, networking can be daunting. It is a skill that is refined over time and with practice. That being said, here are some tips that can help you improve this art.
PART 1: Pre-Networking
You do not want to meet a recruiter only to mix up their company’s mission with their rival’s. That being said, you also don’t want to give the impression that you don’t care either way if you get the position. So, make sure to do EXTENSIVE research on the company:
- Explore their entire website, and in particular, take note of their mission and/or vision. Then, go on to read current events and other information (Google is your best friend). Look into company culture: some have distinct work environments, and recruiters may be looking to see if you are not only qualified, but if you will be a good fit.
- If you know who the company representative will be ahead of time, look them up – understand who you will be speaking to.
- Finally, ask yourself this: What can I do for this company? Answering this can help you identify and focus on your particular skill set that you should market to the recruiter.
2) Prepare your pitch & practice your handshake
Perhaps you have a myriad of relevant experiences or are overqualified for your coveted position. Yet, the recruiter doesn’t know or believe that. And you only have a few minutes, at best, to convince them otherwise.
- Enumerate your relevant previous experiences and skills. Review them and be able to concisely describe them. If the recruiter inquires about any of these, you should be able to provide a comprehensive answer in about 30 seconds.
- Practice with friends. Role play with alternating roles as recruiter and prospective employee, and use the feedback to refine your pitch. An example pitch by one of our own committee heads can be found here (https://youtu.be/m8BoZaViW6k)
- Practice your handshake – this might seem trivial but can have a huge impact on the recruiter’s first impression. See this article: (http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2012/07/19/why-your-handshake-matters-and-how-to-get-it-right/#44751af578e6)
3) Plan your outfit…
…the night before. It will save you a headache and prevent last minute crisis and rushing (the shirt you wanted to wear is in the laundry, your slacks still need to be ironed, etc.).
- Choose an outfit that will boost your confidence, not detract from it. If you are uncomfortable, it will show. The converse is true as well.
- Make sure the outfit is sleek and comfortable with a (important!) POP of COLOR. In a sea of black and white outfits, you will stand out. For women, keep the jewelry and makeup simple and professional; however, a statement piece is great. For more info, see our other blog post (https://calrcsa.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/female-business-attire-tips-tricks/)
- Remember: first impressions are important, and overlook no details – even (perhaps especially) shoes.
Parts 2 and 3 of networking will be covered in subsequent posts!