Think more like a Salesperson
To optimize your level of professional connectedness and boost your chances of landing your dream job, it may help to take a few cues from the world of sales. If you think about, a job search is all about marketing your personal brand, so adopting some of the time-honored techniques and methods that have been devised by sales professionals makes a lot of sense.
For most in the sales business, networking is second nature. Whether they’re on the clock or out on the town, sales professionals are always “working the room,” seeking out connections that may later prove useful.
That “always on” attitude is a vital component of the most successful job searches. You never know when an opportunity will present itself, and when it does, you have to be ready and willing to act. Even if schmoozing, socializing, and meeting the public aren’t your thing, these proven tips from the world of sales can help you tune up your networking skills.
1. Make a wish list
Sales professionals don’t just sit around waiting for their networks to suddenly spring into life. Instead, many map out the people they’d like to connect with. You can lay the blueprint for your own job search network by listing everyone you know who could prove helpful in the process. Whether it’s an uncle who ran his own restaurant for 30 years, a college professor who is a regular patron of the city’s fine dining establishments, or a friend who spent several summers waiting tables in the area, every connection could be beneficial.
2. Get the ball rolling…and keep it in motion
Once you’ve built the foundation of your job search network, start by contacting every person on your list. A phone call is a great way to rekindle old acquaintances and update your friends, family members, and colleagues on your job search status. After the initial contact, it’s crucial to keep the network alive through frequent communication. Emails, voicemails, and even handwritten notes can all help remind your contacts of your plans.
3. Networking is a two way street
Sales professionals network for their own benefit, but they also know that you can only hope to get back from your network what you put into it. Go into every networking situation with a generous frame of mind, willing to extend a helping hand to those from whom you’re seeking assistance. Very few people will be willing to go out of their way to help obviously self-centered networkers who are only in it for themselves.
4. Rely on the Rule of Seven
A tried-and-true staple of the sales world, the Rule of Seven holds that it usually takes an average of seven contacts with a prospect to seal the deal. If no progress has been made after seven interactions, it’s probably best to focus your efforts elsewhere. Keep this guideline firmly in mind when you’re working through your contact list. During your job search, try to connect with each person on your list at least seven times before you move on to a new set of contacts.
Networking might not come naturally to you but bear in mind that it’s a skill that can be learned, honed, and refined, just like any other. If you tend to your job search network with diligence and persistence, you could find yourself on track for an array of professional opportunities you never even imagined.