The MicroTrain Blog

5 Big Networking Mistakes

by Mary Toomey on September 12th, 2014

Networking is most likely the best way to find your new job.  When you are unemployed, your networking skills will need to come into play whether you are avid or new networker.  Mark S. Granovetter, a Harvard sociologist, reported to Forbes magazine that "informal contacts" account for almost 75 percent of all successful job searches. Agencies find nine percent of new jobs for professional and technical people, and advertisements yield another 10 percent or so.  Networking for some people isn’t a comfortable thing to do.  Here are the 5 biggest mistakes that people make when networking for a new position.

 5 Biggest Mistakes people make Networking:

  1.  Being shy and too embarrassed to communicate that you are looking for a position.  This is NOT the time to be shy!  You need to be telling everyone you know you need employment!  Almost everyone you encounter knows what it is like to be out of work or looking for a job.  They will sympathize with you and they will genuinely try to help you.
  2.  Not being specific about what they are looking for.   You had me at hello and then you lost me!  You have to be specific on the type of job you are looking for; no one can read your mind.  The more specific you are, the better your network can help you.  Example:  I want a job as a Project Manager or, I want to be a Project Manager for a hospital, I was recently PMP certified and have 7 years’ experience in hospital project management.    Thinking that you might have better luck being “open” to anything makes it hard for someone to target an appropriate position for you. 
  3. I don’t know that many people?   You do!  Your network is much LARGER than you think.  Make a list of your top people you know and then ask each one if they might know someone you could connect with.  Everywhere you go, when you go to the grocery store, the hairdresser, your dry cleaners, your doctors, the next neighborhood party all could turn out to be networking opportunities.  Each network can connect you to another network. 
  4. Telling your Long Sad Story of Unemployment.  Everyone has a story, if someone agrees to meet with you, now is not the time to tell them how you got fired or laid off and how unfair it was.  Be positive, even with your closest of connections.  When networking, spend someone else’s time with you carefully.  This is not the time to tell your sad story; this is the time to share with them what it is you need and how you can be of value to any organization.  You want people to trust that you are a professional positive person that is hirable not a tainted disgruntled unemployed person.
  5. You don’t listen!   You are not attentive to your contact.  This is a skill to listen more than you speak when you are networking.  Focus on the speaker and avoid interrupting them until they are finished.  Make sure you look interested even if they are rambling on.  This contact could get you to your next contact or your next position, let them speak and have the courtesy to listen.  

Devoting time to network for your next job is a wise investment of your time. Networking, done correctly can get you your next position much quicker than you ever expected.   Avoiding these simple mistakes will make your time and your networks time much more valuable.   Let us know if you have any networking mistakes you have encountered?

Stop sending Resumes! Start Strategizing with LinkedIn.

by Mary Toomey on September 11th, 2014

Searching for employment can be a frustrating daily grind.    Sending your resume and well-crafted cover letters to multiple job openings that you know you are qualified for, but never even get a phone call.  It seems your efforts are not working as you continue to keep sending resume after resume out.   You have to stop this madness and change your strategy now!   First, start thinking of every job that is posted and you are qualified for, as a job lead.  You need to look at the lead as an opportunity to find someone at that company, to send your resume to.  LinkedIn is one the best tools for networking your way to find someone who will actually read your resume.  Here is how to use LinkedIn to get your resume in front of a Hiring Manager.

Research the company on LinkedIn    Find the company on LinkedIn. Follow the company by clicking the yellow follow button in the right corner.  The company page on LinkedIn will show all the employees that are on LinkedIn and how you are connected to them.  It will sometimes also list all the job postings and who posted the position.  The person, who posted the position, would be a great person to connect with.  Take a look at their profile and find a way to connect to that person.  If you know someone they are connected to, ask for a introduction.  If you are not connected, research their profile.  See what groups they are in and join a group that they are also in.  Once you join the same group, you are allowed to ask to connect to this person.  Make sure you write a personal note as to why you would like to be connected.  Once they connect to you, thank them for connecting and then tell them of your interest and why you would be an excellent candidate for the position.  They might not be the hiring manager but they could lead you to the manager. 

  1. Start Connecting!   If the Hiring Manager is not listed on the job posting and you do not have any connections at all with the company, it is time to start connecting.   Review the list of the employees one by one.  Find someone at the company that might have a job title that is similar to the department that would work.   Read the profiles; look for a reason to connect to them.  Did they go to the same college as you? Did they work on a similar project?  Do you have a common interest as them?  Anything for you to make a connection and reach out to them to ask them to connect with you.  Again, make sure when you ask to connect to this person, you give them a reason why you are connecting.  Once you are connected to one employee of the company, you are most likely going to be a second connection to most of the people in at least their department.  This is your chance to network to find the Hiring Manager or someone to hand deliver your resume to. 
  1. Now What?   You researched the company and now you are connected to someone at the company.  Your goal now must be to get your resume with a compelling reason for them to hire you for the position in their hands.  Make sure you ask your connection if they know of who you should send your resume to and their email address.  If it is a great connection, ask them if you could send them your resume and have them carry your resume to the hiring manager.   If your research only found a name of the Hiring Manager or the name of someone in the department and you don’t have too much of a relationship, why not send them a letter in the mail?   Hardly anybody sends letters anymore and especially if the envelope is handwritten!  They will definitely open it and if they are not the right person, chances are, they will deliver your information to the right person.   This would be setting you apart from the rest.
  1. Keep Connecting.  Even though a company might not have a job opening now, things can change in an instant.  Research all the companies that you would like to work for. Check out their LinkedIn Company page and start connecting with their hiring managers, human resources and   to those people who you are 2nd connected to that work in the department you want to work in.  Make sure after you connect with them, you let them know that you are looking for a position and that if anything opens up, that you would love to work for them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

LinkedIn is a great networking tool when used correctly to start getting your resume into a human’s hands with possibly a referral.  It does require a bit of work, but the work that you will put into using LinkedIn will be much better use of time than shot gunning your resume into that deep black hole.  How well do you think you know LinkedIn?  Here is a way to track your LinkedIn IQ:

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