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Speak to Me

Conversations are openings, not outcomes

➔ If ever someone asks you what is the most effective job search tool, there is only one answer you can give: networking. This should not come as any great shock to any job seeker – especially those who have been searching for some time (or who have already found a new position.)

Even if you’ve been out searching for a while; even if your resume isn’t all that it can be; even if your skills aren’t what one would call “up to date”; if you can excel at networking, you’re on the fast track to a new job.

Making it pay

But is networking the end? What is the goal of effective networking? What is the end result? If you said finding someone who can help you get a job, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

But most networking experts talk about establishing a bond with a new contact, beginning a new relationship with someone in the business world who might be beneficial to you (even if they ultimately don’t aid your current job search). Ideally, it’s beginning a relationship with someone to whom you might be beneficial as well.

And the best way to establish such a bond is through conversation. Honest to goodness, two-way, give-and-take conversation. Make it a point to learn about that other individual just as they are learning about you.

Truly effective conversation takes place when you have your thoughts and ideas well formulated in your mind (rehearsed, if necessary), and – and this may be the hard part – actively listening to what the other person has to say. Genuinely listening. Not just hearing.

As Dale Carnegie and Benjamin Franklin point out their respective books, listening is key, not just to finding another job or making another contact, but to laying the groundwork for a relationship that may pay benefits to you both over time.


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