Networking Tree

Networking. What kind of image does this word conjure up for you? If you’re like me, you probably imagine having to schmooze with higher-ups in suits at stuffy after work functions. Not exactly fun! Now before you break into a cold sweat, I’ll let you in on a little known secret, networking is actually not that hard or scary.

It’s all in your approach. Just think of each part of the process as corresponding to the growth of a tree. First, you need to plant your seed, take care and nurture your tree, then through persistence you will be reaping the fruits of your labours!

1. Research (planting the seed)

2. Cultivation (tending your tree)

3. Persistence (harvesting your leads)

Planting the seed

Think of research as the beginning stages of growth. Take for example the field of medical administration. If you are interested in getting into that field, you will need to research medical establishments then find the administrators or HR persons’ contact information at those companies. Once you have collected several contacts, you will need to make a cold-call. This is the hardest part of networking, but fear not most contacts will appreciate your efforts and may even be flattered that you view them as leaders in their field. When you are ready to call keep the following in mind:

Introduce yourself and explain why you are calling i.e. For advice regarding getting into the medical admin field. Make sure you are not interrupting your potential contact. If the person doesn’t have time ask when they may be available. Don’t push and always be respectful!
If they are available to talk, make sure you have some well-researched questions ready to ask. You are making an impression so make it positive!
If the conversation goes well and the contact is helpful thank them for their time. You can also send them an “official” thank you card or letter if you want.
Tending your networking tree

Now that your contact is no longer “cold” you’ll need to cultivate the relationship to keep it “hot.” This is accomplished through staying in touch. You need to remind your contacts that you are available and still looking for work. Do this through follow-up emails or calls for advice or answers to any follow-up questions you may have regarding the field. Be careful not to call too much…you don’t want to become bothersome!

Harvesting your leads

Contacts or leads may bear fruit through persistent cultivation. Even if a contact may not have job leads at their company, they may hear of positions opening up at other companies and let you know. When you have a positive relationship with your contact they may even be willing to be a reference person, which will prove very handy especially if you are a new grad or changing careers.

Whether your networking tree is a sapling or a mighty oak, it’s important to set aside your fears and start the growing process!

Elaine Logie is a recent graduate of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON. For more information on how MCACES helps students with Employment Advisement, please contact Lidia Siino, lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.

Cultivate your network and watch it grow!

Cultivate your network and watch it grow!

reading!

EEEEEK! Are you a scary Networker?!?!?!

Ever wonder how you come across to others while networking? Don’t you wish you could take a potion and become a network sorcerer or wizard, the likes of which has never been seen? Maybe a little eye of newt or wing of bat will do the trick? Well probably not…thankfully networking doesn’t require magic; just a few simple tricks to keep you from being one of the creatures that go bump in the night!

Frankenstein
Speaking of bumping …try not to network like you’re all thumbs and awkward to boot! So how do you avoid dropping your drink on a company CEO or inadvertently elbowing a server? If possible go to the event venue early before the crowds, look around, check out the guest list and then come back later. It helps to know your surroundings so you’ll feel more comfortable, plus nothings worse then not being able to find the washroom.

Mummy

What kind of scary networker are you?

What kind of scary networker are you?


You’ve finally got a chance to chat with an important contact, when suddenly the conversation starts to unravel, what do you do? Easy! Rise to the challenge and ask them about an upcoming trend in their field. You’ll show them you’re not ancient but on top of the latest information while gaining valuable insight into their opinions to better tailor your marketing strategy. Plus, everyone feels flattered when you take a genuine interest in his or her thoughts.

Vampire
Don’t suck the life out of a room! Pause between breathes and allow your other networkers to speak, it’s often in the pauses that “real” information can be gathered. Good listening skills show others that you have consideration for their ideas and opinions.

Zombie
It’s true that most people go to networking events to pick each other people’s brains but don’t go overboard and treat it like a buffet! Gently ask people questions, your not interrogating a helpless subject but sharing valuable information. Remember conversations are a two-way street, plus by sharing you’ll show others you’re not just out for yourself.

Ghost
Hey wallflower…yeah I’m talking to you! Try not to shrink away from the crowds and disappear into the scenery. If it helps take a friend, even if they aren’t really there to network they can offer some moral support… just don’t hang on them for dear life!

Now that you’ve tricked yourself into not focusing on the horrors of networking, the chances it’ll be a treat instead. Happy Halloween!

Elaine Logie is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College and MCACESBlogs blogger. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts, tips and musings for job seekers and their respective networks. Follow our blog and be less scared of the job search process. Happy reading! Happy Halloween!

Eeeeeck! Are you a scary networker?

What kind of scary networker are you?

What kind of scary networker are you?

Ever wonder how you come across to others while networking? Don’t you wish you could take a potion and become a network sorcerer or wizard, the likes of which has never been seen? Maybe a little eye of newt or wing of bat will do the trick? Well probably not…thankfully networking doesn’t require magic; just a few simple tricks to keep you from being one of the creatures that go bump in the night!

Frankenstein

Speaking of bumping …try not to network like you’re all thumbs and awkward to boot!  So how do you avoid dropping your drink on a company CEO or inadvertently elbowing a server? If possible go to the event venue early before the crowds, look around, check out the guest list and then come back later. It helps to know your surroundings so you’ll feel more comfortable, plus nothings worse then not being able to find the washroom.

Mummy

You’ve finally got a chance to chat with an important contact, when suddenly the conversation starts to unravel, what do you do? Easy! Rise to the challenge and ask them about an upcoming trend in their field. You’ll show them you’re not ancient but on top of the latest information while gaining valuable insight into their opinions to better tailor your marketing strategy. Plus, everyone feels flattered when you take a genuine interest in his or her thoughts.

 Vampire

Don’t suck the life out of a room! Pause between breathes and allow your other networkers to speak, it’s often in the pauses that “real” information can be gathered. Good listening skills show others that you have consideration for their ideas and opinions.

 Zombie

It’s true that most people go to networking events to pick each other people’s brains but don’t go overboard and treat it like a buffet! Gently ask people questions, your not interrogating a helpless subject but sharing valuable information. Remember conversations are a two-way street, plus by sharing you’ll show others you’re not just out for yourself.

Ghost

Hey wallflower…yeah I’m talking to you! Try not to shrink away from the crowds and disappear into the scenery. If it helps take a friend, even if they aren’t really there to network they can offer some moral support… just don’t hang on them for dear life!

Now that you’ve tricked yourself into not focusing on the horrors of networking, the chances it’ll be a treat instead. Happy Halloween!

Elaine Logie is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College and MCACESBlogs blogger. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts, tips and musings for job seekers and their respective networks. Follow our blog and be less scared of the job search process. Happy reading! Happy Halloween!

An Introvert’s Guide to Networking Events

Ok now before the introverts reading this decide to close the tab or run to another room and hide just let me explain…

As a self-professed introvert myself, I know that having the spotlight on you can be unnerving, but as someone who has navigated these tricky waters before I can assure you that networking events don’t require you to suddenly act like the life of the party. Believe it or not you don’t have to stretch too far beyond your comfort zone to be a good networker. Just think of it as a sandwich. Without the bread (the areas that introverts excel at) you won’t have much of a sandwich.

Bottom (Bread)

  1. Do your research

Use your preparations to your advantage. By knowing who’s who in your industry you can often begin a conversation simply by acknowledging and admiring someone’s accomplishments. Plus this is a great conversation starter…

  1. Have a goal

What is it you want to accomplish through meeting certain individuals? – Gain advice? Offer skills or expertise? Understanding this will make the interaction smoother. Also make sure you have practiced a quick (30 second) elevator speech, contacts need to know how your skills can be utilized to benefit you both.

Ham

3. Show your passion

Don’t sweat it! Even if you are an introvert, your deep passion for your industry will inevitably bubble to the surface if you simply focus on what you do and why you enjoy doing it. By taking yourself partly out of the equation and putting your profession in the forefront you will relax a little and share more.

4. Master exit and entrance strategies

If you need to get out of a conversation or move on to meet someone new a good way to end the conversation without causing offence is to ask for the person’s business card or to hand over yours (even if you are not currently working create a simple card with your contact info on it for these situations) This cue usually works – but before you meet someone new quickly jot down conversation points on the back of the card while things are still fresh.

Top (Bread)

5. Followup

This part is so important it can’t be emphasized enough!  Email the person the next day and maybe mention a point or two that you discussed with the person (those business card notes will come in handy) This continues the conversation and could potentially start a great collaborative partnership.

Because Introverts tend to notice the little details others overlook,Image use this strength to your advantage to make yourself standout. More and more, potential movers and shakers realize that introverts contribute added value to their companies. For all you know you may be the best thing since sliced bread!

Elaine Logie is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program. MCACESBlogs is a series of posts to assist job seekers their friends and peers with many facets of the work search process. Like what you read? Be sure to subscribe to MCACESBlogs or check back often for the latest tools and tips about work search techniques.

Finding That Dream Job (Part 1)

ImageAlthough I’m not a career consultant, I have tons of experience looking for so-called “survival jobs,” as well as, that elusive dream job.  In fact, I’m currently looking for employment in the education sector after staying home with my young family for the past six years.  This blog is actually part one of a four part series about my job search experiences – with a few of my own tidbits of wisdom thrown in for good measure.  Part one of the series will address the importance of networking, especially as it pertains to new moms off on mat leave or extended leave.  In my second blog, I’ll take a look at the do’s and don’ts of resume writing.  My third blog will discuss applying for a job in the educational field and the fourth blog will examine the dreaded interview and how to prepare.

Hopefully, by blogging about my experiences and acknowledging my newly attained knowledge regarding job search tools and techniques, the road I’m travelling back to employment (and financial security), will be as smooth as possible!

NETWORKING!  As a somewhat introverted individual, I shied away from the idea of networking. For me, the term always conjured up the image of people standing around a conference room awkwardly exchanging pleasantries and business cards.  Call me!

In reality, networking is vital, especially to new moms.  My advice – always try to keep one foot in the workplace door.  If working part-time is not an option, consider other avenues to make the eventual transition back to work as easy as possible.  There are a number of ways to do this – all which involve, you guessed it, networking!

1. Volunteer

I know having a child (or children), is utterly exhausting.  I also know how hard it is to make time for yourself when you have a baby.  It’s vitally important, however, that we moms take time for ourselves – even if it’s only for a couple of hours a week.  If yoga is not your calling, consider volunteering.  Stop by Timmies and grab a much needed coffee en route to your new volunteering position.  Try to find a volunteering opportunity that is enjoyable, will look good on your resume, and has the potential to be used as a reference when the time comes to return to work.

2. Keep in Touch

Call up your co-workers and stop by work for a visit if at all possible – just remember to bring donuts and your newborn baby for everyone to fawn over (the baby, not the donuts)!  Even better, arrange a monthly dinner date with your co-workers.  Consider using Facebook as a job networking tool.  Let your “friends” know that you’re still around and will be coming back to work once your mat leave/extended leave ends.  If you’re thinking of making a career change, let your “friends” know so they can help spread the word and offer you advice, or hook you up with one of their contacts.  Remember, it’s all comes down to who you know!

3. Take a Course

Again, I know you’re exhausted and probably don’t think you have the energy to take a course.  Sleep is way over-rated anyway!  If you can’t make it to your local college or university, consider taking a course online.  By taking a course in-person or online, you can increase your knowledge base, continue to add to your resume and become acquainted with individuals who share a similar interest.

Networking doesn’t have to be forced and uncomfortable!  Use it as an excuse to get out of the house and take a breather.  In addition to maintaining your sanity, you’ll make the return to work as enjoyable and seamless as possible.

Renee Morley is a Continuing Education Student currently studying within the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College. MCACES offers a comprehensive Employment Advisement program for our students. For more information about Employment Advisement, please visit the MCACES website, www.mcaces.ca or contact Lidia Siino, Employment & Communications Specialist at Lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.