(without rewriting your resume, changing your LI profile, or spending hours searching for jobs)
If I say, “networking”
What comes to mind?
“I already did”
“I’m tired” – usually that comes after the trying.
If I say, circles of networking
You may think:
The 9 circles of H-E-double- ….
…Wait, no, not that.
But, good on you for remembering your required reading assignments.
Let’s dig into what great networking is (and isn’t).
1. Why strategic networking is required
2. Defining strategic networking
3. The 3 Circles System
Just like required reading
Am I the only one who becomes immediately skeptical as soon as someone says something is required?
Questions I ask myself (and my husband if he’s in earshot)
….why is it required?
…what’s in it for you?
…what’s in it for me?
…should it be required?
With one notable exception: Shirts and shoes are required at food establishments on the beach.
I don’t ask why.
I’m just grateful.
“Required” can send us back to our high school classroom to look for excuses to get out of it.
“I don’t have enough time” is our favorite adult excuse
Or, “I don’t know the right people”.
“It doesn’t ever result in anything”…ahhh….
This is the one I hear from successful professionals who find themselves in the unfamiliar territory of the job search.
I submit to you that the quality of your results is directly impacted by the quality of your networking.
What makes networking strategic?
1. Structured – 1 desired outcome from every conversation
2. Systemized – easy to repeat
3. Simple – fast to complete
Before we get into the 3 Circles System, I have a smart key for you.
(This comes directly from my decades of recruiting experience.)
Every networking conversation is a discovery conversation
1. State your intention.
a. This is an informal, professional discussion.
b. State clearly your desired outcome.
2. Take control of the conversation through active listening.
a. You don’t need to talk the entire time. Quite the opposite. Listen for how they can support you (a referral, a recommendation, an interview, sharing your resume).
3. Make the ask.
a. Only one ask per conversation.
The 3 Circles System
Not every relationship is created equal.
You already know that.
Now, let’s use it to your advantage
First circle: people you know well
This is your smallest circle
Focus: friends in the professional and personal realms of your life
Your college roomie who you can still call up after months, even years, of zero communication and pick up exactly where you left off.
(Looking at you, A. 💜)
Tone: This is where you can be the most candid about what you want/need
Second Circle: people you know
This is a bigger circle
Focus: colleagues and acquaintances either 1 removed or someone that you worked with or someone you know casually
Tone: A comfortable discussion about their current job and company. Still using the structure above and focusing on your mutual professional world more than personal.
Third circle: new connections
Focus: creating a new relationship out of thin air.
You’ve done this countless times at your kids’ soccer games, business meetings and when your daughter introduces her new boyfriend.
You can do this.
Tone: A professional discussion with one (and just one) desirable outcome
You get bonus points for doing a little research before the conversation. This will make for a richer discussion.
Do it consistently for 4 weeks and check your progress.
What’s not working?
What could be improved?
Like every system, you’ll tweak it over time.
Now, get out there.
You got this.