You’ve found yourself in the position of looking for a new job, you’ve either been laid off, are new to the job hunt, or are unhappy with your current situation. Whatever the reason, you can send out hundreds of resumes and not get one response back and it all comes down to that old saying of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.
I could sit here and write about the 5 magical steps of networking or 10 things you need to know to get your dream job. Realistically that’s not going to happen, I’m way more efficient than that – Let’s do it in 4 steps! Ready?
Create a pitch and get a game plan. You need to know what you are looking for, stating “I’m looking for anything” doesn’t get you a job. Maybe you want a job in sales or a job in healthcare. Specify what you are looking for and why you are qualified for the job. You don’t need to get into specifics but something like “I’ve got experience working in retail and I really like working with people. A job in sales is exactly what I am looking for” will work. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, this is just the first step.
Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job and use your one-line pitch. Literally, everyone. Your neighbor, your friends, family, the cute little old lady at the bus stop. Find a way to bring it up in conversation. Something like:
“Hey, how’s it going”
“I’m great, been busy looking for a new job”
“Oh, what kind of job are you looking for?”
“Well, with all my experience working in retail and my love of people, I was thinking a job in sales would be good”
See what I did there? You can ask them how they are doing after they tell you that their brother’s wife works in sales and may be able to help you out.
When you find someone that is either in the field you want to work or is potentially looking to hire someone for the job you want, you need to expand on your pitch. But before you do that, let’s talk about some key traits you need to demonstrate:
– Confidence is the biggest thing, make eye contact, and give a firm hand shake. Stand up straight, point your body straight at the person you are talking to.
– Don’t get distracted by your environment or your phone. Leave your phone in your pocket, or make a point of putting it out of sight.
– Be assertive and direct about why you want the job, there is no point in beating around the bush here – people like direct, quick answers. Think about when people tell stories and they drag on with the details, you might be interested in the story but the nitty gritty details will make you quickly lose interest, the same goes for a potential employer.
– When you feel like you have no idea what you are talking about – fake it ‘til you make it!
– Be specific for the company you are hoping to get hired at, use keywords specific to the job. A great example of this in health care is to use the words “patient care is a top priority”. It doesn’t matter what job you get in a hospital; the bottom line is you are there for the patients. You could be sweeping floors, creating schedules, or serving up meals.
Now, you can expand on your pitch, tell them exactly why they should hire you. Tell them why you are amazing! Give them specific stories that are short and to the point:
For example, “I love working with people and I’ve always worked in sales positions. My last job was specifically about connecting with the customer and providing goods specific to their tastes”. Want to guess what job I’m talking about? Working in a clothing store – although really, you could use that pitch for any retail job.
Follow up – this is the step most people forget about. Always ALWAYS ALWAYS follow up after a meeting. Even if it’s a quick email, text, or call. Saying something like “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me, I really appreciate it. I hope to hear from you regarding a potential position in the future with your organization”.
Any other thoughts on networking? What worked for you? I’d love to hear about it