Staying Connected After 60: To Network or Not to Network… It’s Not Even a Question!
Before we explore some elements of successful networking, let’s get the obvious out on the table.
You would probably prefer not to have to network extensively. I felt the same way and told my story and viewpoint on multiple occasions.
Things have changed, however. Landing a job and reaching success is no longer about who you know, but what you know about who you know. Thanks so much, social media!
An estimated 70% of all available positions are not publicly advertised. This makes it imperative that we use networking to discover and compete for them. Having an inside contact can make all the difference in the world.
It looks like networking is both invaluable and unavoidable. Here are a few ways to make it manageable, meaningful and – gasp! – even enjoyable.
Identify and Grow Your Network
You’ll be surprised to learn that you have a substantial network already. Your network includes almost everyone you’ve ever met.
Begin by taking time to figure out who is really going to make some time to help your cause. A great way to expand on this is through leveraging LinkedIn. Much can be learned about a contact from their profile.
Create and Deliver a Powerful Message That Resonates with Everyone
After identifying and prioritizing your network, the next step is to create a powerful and concise message to deliver to your network, sharing your goals. Share it with a few of your trusted contacts to verify that it delivers your message effectively and has a clear call to action.
The next step is to send your message out to your network. Start with the people who can directly help. You can send it by email, call them or, best of all, book a coffee meeting.
People are often busy and don’t respond immediately, so don’t take this personally. Following up with each will help to raise the response rate. Remember, it only takes one great connection to taste success.
Pursue and Conduct Informational Interviews and Meetings
How we follow up is part strategy and part art form. Typically, you’ll have multiple objectives for this part of the process:
- To expand your network and meet another potential contact in your job search, ideally in person or at a minimum, on the phone.
- To share your background, skill sets and experience.
- To plant the seed of the idea that your passion and skills might fit into their company.
- To identify any specific positions and opportunities that might be available now.
- To identify next steps: follow up on an opportunity, get more introductions, perhaps an interview, or have another conversation.
It’s like walking: one foot forward after the other. This, you can do.
Are you ready to get out there and wake the world up to your majesty? Do you know where and how you’re going to start networking? Who do you know that you can learn from about this topic? Please join the discussion below.
Jeff Henning is a business leader and educator in Southern California. He is the father of 10 daughters. His expertise is in creating meaningful change within a business to drive results focused upon people, profits and planet. Jeff is the founder of Square Peg, an organization that recognizes the tremendous challenge Baby Boomers face while attempting to reinvent themselves in the new career landscape.