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No matter where you go for job search advice, no doubt you’ll come across someone expounding on the benefits of, and the need for networking. (Digital or in person.) This is one case where there is enough data to prove the point.
Many recruiters, job coaches, etc., will boldly state that networking plays a part in as much as 80 percent of all new job finds. CNBC recently reported, “Research shows that 70 percent of all jobs are not published publicly on jobs sites and as much as 80 percent of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections.”
Ensuring your job search success
There also is a lot of advice available to help to ensure a successful networking experience. Your clothes. Your body language. et.al. They’re all part of the bigger picture.
At the end of the day, your networking success will depend on how well you can present yourself (not the outer, artificial you – but the inner you). How will that person perceive you as a potential job candidate at best, or at least as someone who they may want to help in your job search.
In the world of business, these encounters are considered “cold calls.” Unfortunately for most people – especially job seekers; especially older job seekers – cold calling can be a difficult mountain to climb. You meet someone with whom you would like to connect, and you don’t know what to say.
As with most everything else in your job search, the key here is preparation. Before embarking on a networking event, prepare a handful (maybe 4-6) questions that you can ask a stranger.
What does your company do?
How did you get into that line of work?
What’s the toughest part of your job?
How is your company (or you) dealing with – some topical reference? This could be the economy, a recession, trade imbalance or, in today’s parlance, Covid/delta variant, work from home, etc.
Asking a question is a good ice breaker mostly because people love to talk about themselves, their jobs, their companies, etc. It doesn’t have to be overly insightful or mind-bending, just something to get the ball rolling.
From there, you’re on your own.