The search for employment will thrill you, frustrate you, and ultimately lead you to the career you are meant to pursue. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for a little help from your friends to point you in the right direction. But what if your honed networking skills have gained you “All-Star” status on LinkedIn, a thick stack of business cards, and a schedule full of coffee dates, but not the job of your dreams?
When your college roommates, favorite professors, fellow interns and former bosses can’t open the door to a full-time position, it’s time to start knocking elsewhere. You know that second-degree LinkedIn connection or upper-level executive whose job you secretly covet? You should e-mail them.
The road to building rapport with, admittedly, total strangers is one few travel because, let’s face it, intimidation and the threat of rejection are all too real. The risks are worth it, though. Take it from someone who has reached out more than 25 such contacts and achieved 100 percent response rate.
6 Quick Tips For Better Online Networking
If you are polite, concise, and ask for what you want, you will be successful. Your panache just might earn you the position you’ve always wanted, or at the very least a professional perspective on a shared passion. Boost your online networking efforts with these quick tips:
1. Put your best foot forward.
Begin your invitation to connect with a polite greeting. This formality may seem like a no-brainer, but neglecting to write a respectful “Dear So-and-So” can mean the difference between a response and a deleted invitation.
2. Mention a common link.
Remind the invitee how you know her, whether through a mutual connection or shared history. Maybe you both graduated from the same university, or work in the same field. Maybe you are just fascinated by the work she does at a company you admire. No matter the commonality, be sure to write a sentence or two about it.
3. Offer a kind word.
On that note, make a point of complimenting the invitee. This is not meant to be disingenuous, but you want to let him know you have read up on their professional work. You might try something like, “I find your work inspiring! I would love to learn more about your career.”
4. Say what you want.
Ah, the pivotal moment. The sentence that is the shortest to write but often the most difficult to commit to the page. Still, remember that you rarely get what you don’t ask for. Keep the phrase simple, “If you would be willing to have a conversation by e-mail or phone, I would be so grateful.” Now, the invitee has the opportunity to contact you and pave the way to an informational or exploratory interview.
5. Keep the lines of communication open.
Be sure to give the invitee your contact information for e-mail and phone.
6. Finish strong.
Thank the invitee for his time and let him know you look forward to hearing from him soon. Sign your name, first and last, and click “send.”
Good luck! Taking the first step toward a new job or career starts with building a professional network. What are some of your best tips for building a professional network? What strategies do you use when networking online? Please share in the comments below!
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