EVENTS & INSIGHTS / INSIGHT

How to get a ‘yes’ from your network

by Shannon Houde

More than 50 percent of jobs are landed due to personal connections or referrals, so it is crucial to leverage your network of contacts for your professional development. Even though many people find networking to be intimidating, you don’t have to worry. Reaching out to your network doesn’t have to be scary and salesy. Think of it as a mutual friendship where you are simply reconnecting or offering something in exchange for a favor. You have to give a little to get a little.

Here are some simple “dos and don’ts” to keep in mind when reaching out to your network.

Do target the right people first

The best way to get results from your “hit list” is to prioritize the people who know you personally. Reaching out to second-degree connections on LinkedIn is a bit further fetched. People are busy enough with the people they do know. Unless that person is truly spot on for your target audience, it’s better to prioritize the people you know first.

DON'T MISS OUT
ON MORE FREE TIPS

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign up

Do get the intel

Make sure you have as much information as possible to bring to your conversation. Do your research on your contact, their company, competitors and relevant articles to their areas of interest before picking up the phone. Ask yourself questions such as, “What is their need for a resource?” and “How do I fill that need?” Depict yourself as a new asset on the horizon they can make use of.

Do give to get

Networking should be a two-way street. When you reach out, send your audience something of interest to them or their business such as competitor insight, sector white paper, article, conference or legislation. Refer them to a lead by helping with new customers, funding or finding top talent. Or simply offer a favor in exchange for their help. My Southern mother always taught me, “Never show up empty-handed!”

Don’t ask your contact to do the work

If you are going to reach out to people you know for introductions, you need to make this as pain-free and as easy for them as possible.

  1. Start by identifying who you want them to introduce you to from their network. Do not put the onus on them to dig up names from their internal database of contacts.
  2. You need to write the script. Make it easy for your contact to literally cut and paste a blurb they can use to introduce you.

I had a client who wanted to work with National Geographic, and one of my best friends works there. She wrote this for me to cut and paste into my intro:

I have a client that is curious about who to talk to at National Geographic. Can you help? Her name is ___ and she wants to connect about Nat Geo’s work in relation to education, children and human rights as she has recently been advising the EU and UNICEF on strategic partnerships. Check out her profile on LinkedIn.

She has led global programs up to $3.5M for the empowerment of women and girls, social inclusion, education and early childhood development for brands such as PwC, World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, DFID, UNESCO, UNICEF and Save the Children.

Let me know if this is too random and feel free to say “no go, I get too many of these every week.” 🙂 Otherwise, thanks in advance for your help. Hope to see you on my next trip to DC.

Don’t send a resume or CV

Instead of sending a resume, it’s better to attach a 2,000-character bio. This should tell a strong story about why you have credibility in the market so that you look like a reputable contributor, not a desperate job seeker. Remember that you can also point them to your LinkedIn profile, which in essence is a public resume anyway.

In this first outreach, you should always outline the results that you will deliver for them. For help, you can use my One Page Job Proposal tool for this. It focuses on the employer’s needs — not the job seeker, a fresh concept — is not a dry resume and looks to the future rather than the past.

Don’t shy away

Steve Jobs called his first investor 532 times before he got his first nibble. If you feel yourself shying away or losing confidence because you didn’t get immediate positive results or feedback, that’s a sign to push forward, dive in and push through those fears. Resilience and determination win out in today’s market. But remember: For this to work, you need to believe there is a fit and that you will be able to offer something of value in exchange for your request.

Do follow up

Here are three scenarios of follow-up and next steps to keep in mind.

  1. If nothing happens even though there appears to be a fit, call again in two weeks. People are busy and sometimes your message gets lots in the bottom of the email ether. Follow up by phone, though. Find their number and make it happen live. Connect as a human, not as one of 100 emails in their inbox. Remember Steve Jobs above.
  2. If nothing happens because there is no fit, let it go and move on to the next one. Don’t waste your time chasing rainbows. Focus instead on the low-hanging fruit where there is synergy and you can “give to get.”
  3. If you haven’t found the fit, keep looking, calling and reaching out until you find it. You’ll need to kiss 100 frogs before you find your prince or princess.

I know networking can be daunting, but it is such an important part of every job search.  Remember to think of it as “making new friends” where it is a two-way street — they need you as much as you need them.

This article was originally published on GreenBiz

Photo credit 27707 via Pixabay

comments

You may also like...

A Deep Dive Into Sustainability Careers

Careers in sustainability are increasing in demand but how do you break into this highly competitive market? What are companies looking for in employees and how do you set yourself apart? Whether you are new to sustainability, a recent graduate, looking to make a career change, or looking to advance your current career in sustainability, this discussion hosted by Net Impact Amsterdam is for you.  DON’T MISS OUTON MORE FREE TIPS Sign Up For Our Newsletter Sign up  

By Shannon Houde
Six secrets to landing your dream job in the impact sector

There’s never any shortage of advice on how to get that next big career break. But the people you really want to hear from? Those that are standing exactly where you want to be. We asked former Walk of Life clients “What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to land a top job in the impact sector?”. Here is what they said: Find someone to look up to. Then work out how they got there.

By Shannon Houde
12 of the best courses to bolster your sustainability credentials

Sustainability is always evolving. As are the expectations of organisations. The only way to stay ahead of the curve is to regularly set aside time for professional development. But with an abundance of courses to pick from, which ones deserve your time?   As Mahatma Gandhi said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”   DON’T MISS OUTON MORE FREE TIPS Sign Up For Our Newsletter Sign up The success of any career or company depends on a willingness

By Shannon Houde
6 reasons why it’s ok to hate networking

It might be billed as one of the best ways to get ahead but in reality, relentless networkers end up making more enemies than friends. Is there anything worse than that person who LOVES networking? We’ve all met them. There you are standing at a conference minding your own business when they barrel in, reel off their resume, drop a few high powered names and thrust a business card (“it’s new, embossed, cost a fortune”) into your hand. DON’T MISS

By Shannon Houde

NEED SOME SUPPORT?

Book a 30-minute trial session with Shannon

BOOK A TRIAL