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  • How to Turn Networking into Interviews

    People in transition know that 60 to 80 percent of job seekers get their next positions through networking. Consequently and whenever possible, they focus their daily activities on such networking. But despite their—sometimes admittedly awkward—efforts, nothing comes of it. The reason is that they don’t have an understanding of the actual purpose of networking and how to turn it into interviews.

    The purpose of networking is to cultivate relationships for advice, information, leads, and, hopefully, referrals. While it’s important to know others for this purpose, it’s equally important that those others know you. Most people are willing to network, but they have the right to expect you to (1) focus on specific companies and (2) demonstrate to them that networking is a give-and-take transaction, whereby they, too, may get from you in turn some industry intelligence.

    For those who don’t know how to go about approaching a person for the purpose of networking, here’s a simple script that can be used either over the phone or via e-mail.

    My name is Jane Jones. Our mutual acquaintance Stan Smith
    suggested I give you a call [send you an e-mail] because he feels
    you’re an expert in the pharmaceutical industry. Stan suggested
    you might be of assistance to me. I’m in transition and looking
    for a role as a marketing director. I don’t expect you to know
    of an opening in this area, but perhaps you can share with me
    your thoughts about ways I can find out who’s hiring.

    The mechanics of a networking dialogue should have the following components. An initial rapport building to establish the relationship. An agenda for the purpose—and that consider how you, too, can add value. Try finding out whom the other person knows or what good contacts the person has. Another element is likability. You must develop your relationship on trust, integrity, and shows of enthusiasm, motivation, and drive. Nobody enjoys a conversation with someone who’s depressed—with the possible exception of a psychologist!  And last, get engaged in the exchange, and try to feel comfortable asking for referrals. When you get them, make sure you keep your host in the loop.

    If you follow these guidelines, it’s very likely that you’ll generate more interviews. In that event, make sure you’re well prepared. You don’t want to drop the ball once you’re so close to scoring.

    Alex Freund is a career and interviewing coach known as the “landing expert” for publishing his 80 page list of job-search networking groups. He is prominent in a number of job-search networking groups; makes frequent public presentations, he does workshops on resumes and LinkedIn, teaches a career development seminar and publishes his blog focused on job seekers. Alex worked at Fortune 100 companies headquarters managing many and large departments. He has extensive experience at interviewing people for jobs and is considered an expert in preparing people for interviews. Alex  is a Cornell University grad, lived on three continents and speaks five languages.

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