So, you’ve done it! You’ve gotten up the courage to get off your couch, put on your most professional outfit, and head out to a networking event near you. And, you’ve been killing it! Using all of the tips and trades you crafted the perfect personal brand to market yourself to your ideal employers and you have a solid elevator promise that you’ve been delivering with confidence and poise. But, not every person you meet at networking events is created equal. If you’re not getting into the habit of asking for what you want, you can be missing out on valuable job opportunities. It’s time to take your skills to the next level and seek out what you want from all your new found networking connections.
Not All Contacts Are Created Equal
You may be meeting a high volume of valuable networking connections, however, it is important to know how each connection can help you in your job search. Not everyone is going to have your dream job open and waiting for you to grab it. Some connections will already have a full job roster, or be in a field that doesn’t quite line up with your career goals. Does that mean speaking with theses people was a waste of your valuable networking time? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Making these types of connections is important and crucial to have a well rounded networking experience. And while some connections can’t offer you a job on the spot, they can help you out in other ways. You just need to learn how to approach these networking connections and ask for what you want.
So, What do You Want From Networking Connections?
Figuring out what you want from potential connections before hand is always a good strategy, but life doesn’t always play out the way you plan. That’s why it’s important to learn how to switch gears in case the person you are connecting with can’t give you a job offer right off hand. Let’s say you’ve made a great connection with a person or company and you’ve gotten up the courage to ask if they were hiring, and wah wah, they aren’t. Don’t be discouraged!You should automatically be thinking of what else this connection can help you with.
See if the company would be willing to give you an informational interview (these are really important and often overlooked). Maybe this connection can become a valuable mentor who will provide crucial feedback on current or previous work. They may even be able to put you into contact with a like minded business that IS hiring. Getting a referral can be just as exciting as getting an interview. But, you’ll never get to see all the potential that these networking connections can offer if you don’t ask for it. They’re not mind readers! Communication is key, so go ahead, ask for what you want!
Keep These Tips In Mind
Now that you’re ready to ask for what you want, be it a referral, an informational interview, or just to keep in contact with said new networking connection, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Don’t Be Afraid of Rejection– Sometimes people really can’t provide you with what you are asking for. And, hey, sometimes they just don’t want to. DO NOT let this get you down. Be resilient! Kindly thank them for their time and move on. Rejection is a part of life, and your job search.
Be Confident In Your Delivery – Asking for exactly what you want can be scary. Especially if you have just been shot down by another connection, or found that the one you have been speaking with can’t provide exactly what you were hoping for. If you feel you have a strong possibility to seek out another opportunity, confidently ask for it. Employers appreciate confidence out of their potential employees.
Express Gratitude– If someone is receptive to your requests, you should thank them. People appreciate a gracious attitude. Thank them on the spot of course, but don’t be afraid to take it one step further. Send a kind follow up thank you email, or handwritten letter. These personal touches will help employers to keep you in mind for the future, even if you didn’t score that job offer.
Carry all of these newfound tips with you to your next networking adventure. Remember that you worked hard to get to where you are, and you deserve to be heard. So go on, get out there and ask for what you want! There are so many people just waiting to listen.