Some Networking Advice

 In Career Tips, Professional Networking

At a networking event, I met three job seekers who had it all wrong. Let me share with you these experiences… I hope you don’t “see” yourself in these examples, but if you do you’ll know what you can do to be more effective at your next networking meeting.

Steve, Graphic Designer: Spent at least three minutes telling me about how his love for art began in the second grade and then went through each job that led to his lay-off in March. I sure didn’t need to know that much, plus I didn’t have a clue about who he was:  the skills that made him different from the other graphic designers looking for work, the contributions he made to his past employer that set him apart from others, or his future career aspirations.

Solution: Steve needs to create a succinct 1-2 minute future-focused sound byte that tells the listener about what he has to offer (skills, past contributions), what he’s looking for (specific position/industry), and how the listener can help him.

Sally, “I can do anything”:  When I asked Sally what type of job she was seeking, she rattled off about a half dozen positions she’s held in the past – from customer service to purchasing to accounting and even sales. I pushed further to try to find out where she sees her career headed and was told “anything I can get.” My end impression was that Sally had no passion, self-confidence, or clear goals.

Solution:  Sally needs to work with a career coach to determine a definite career path and, like Steve, create a sound byte that quickly articulates the position she desires and the skills that support that goal.

Bridget, “Experienced Leader”: Bridget, like Sally, didn’t have a clear-cutidea of what she wants to do next, but wasted no time letting me know how she was unjustly let go from her last position and went on to give examples including the company name. How uncomfortable would the conversation been had someone in my family been in management at that company?

Solution:  Never, ever say anything negative about your past employer.

I hope these examples have given you ideas about what not to do or, better yet, validated that you are on the right track.

Kathy Keshemberg is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer and Certified Career Management Coach. Since 1983, she has created thousands of interview-winning resumes and related job-search materials for satisfied clients around the world. Need assistance with your career? We’re here to help!

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