Q. I’m an HR professional with 20+ years of experience in the corporate world and have been searching for a new position for the past 6 months. I’ve applied to more than 100 jobs, have been on a few interviews, but so far I’m striking out and need a home run.
A. What an exhausting experience, but rest assured you are not alone. I hear so many stories like yours I could write a book about job search nightmares. I also hear success stories about people who are considering multiple offers. Who are they and what do they have that you don’t? They have a diverse network that works for them, specific knowledge and skills, charming personalities, chemistry and passion.
Why do we network? We network to develop relationships for personal and business purposes. You can never have enough friends in your business or personal life. Most of the people I’ve spoken to who landed a job in the last year, 80 percent of the time it came through their network. What is a network? A network is relationships with people, groups and associations with common interests. This could be as basic as the people in your neighborhood, sports teams, wine groups, church, community service, friends, family and business affiliations.
Take the time to walk in your neighborhood and get to know your neighbors. Hopefully you already have relationships with these people, if not, start to get to know them today.
If you play a sport or are part of a wine group, you already have common interests, work it.
Explore community service projects; get involved in something you care about. I’ve heard amazing stories about people who landed their jobs through community service time.
If you have kids, get to know their friends' parents, good for you and your kids.
Family and friends can be your biggest fans. Spend time with them, and nurture these relationships.
Join at least one business group that speaks to you.
Here’s the hitch, I want you turn off your computer and start spending time in the real world. This means you will need to polish up on your communication skills and charm. As a nation we are spending too much time on our computers thinking that our next job will come through the screen.
Don’t take me wrong, I’m not putting down online social media, it has its place, but the action is out in the field. That means face time with other humans. Have you tried reverse networking? This involves delivering valuable information to people in your network. Play it forward. When you spend time with people, ask them about their lives, what are they interested in. Everyone is looking for something or someone. It's not all about you.
Continue to develop your knowledge and skills by attending classes, seminars and workshops. This is a great way to meet new people with common interests and goals. Never stop developing yourself personally and professionally.
Polish up on your presentation skills. This means when you are out in public look good, be personable, charming and interesting to everyone you meet. What do you want people to say about you? Always leave a great impression. Become a great story teller, everyone loves a great story.