By Tim Klepaczyk
Why is networking so much more effective in your job search than any other approach? I’m sure many articles have been written reflecting on this question. Here is one of my theories.
In a sense, when you’re having a conversation with a new networking contact, you’re interviewing before the interview. This is why personal contacts still trump connections you’ve made over the internet. Nothing beats old-fashioned “face time”. One of the things I’ve observed throughout my career is that in spite of many harsh realities in the workplace, most people when they first meet you want to like you. (Incidentally, this is particularly true when you are a new hire – hey, I hired the guy who solved that perplexing problem that’s been an obstacle for so long!)
Reinforcing the value of meeting someone in person is the fact that some venues engender mutual support. For example, job networking meetings are collaborations of job seekers – generally, everyone is there to help everyone else. Such a climate is conducive to a successful “pre-interview”.
Keep that in mind whenever you meet someone new. We’re told to look for opportunities to give our “elevator speech” and hand out our business card. Speak with sincere enjoyment about the things you liked most in your past work assignments. Take interest in your new contact’s situation, making clear you would be helpful to them, too, if they need it. Be friendly and smile a lot. Look for a shared interest, if possible. Introverts may have to work at this, because it’s a lot of small talk. Are you an oenophile, and you notice the new acquaintance you met at a social mixer got a glass of wine? Use that to make a personal connection.
Nail the pre-interview, and more interviews will follow.
Tim Klepaczyk is an RF & microwave engineer with over 20 years of experience in applications & sales and product design & validation. He also loves writing.
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