One of the hardest parts of a job search or working in your own business is how to actively generate networking leads that turn into real work opportunities. It is a task that people do not like to do and yet, your success is tied to doing it successfully.
I wish I could tell you there was a magic formula, but there is not. There are some techniques that will help you increase your leads and depending on what you are trying to accomplish, some will work better than others. Here’s the list:
Talking to People
There is something magical about connecting with one person and having them suggest that you should talk to someone they know. But here’s the thing, sometimes you have to ask them for a referral. How you ask the question will affect the other person’s receptivity to help you. Here are a couple of examples – which one do you think will work better?
- Is there any one you know that I should talk to about my job search?
- I have shared with you a little about what I do and how I have helped others be successful. Is there anyone you can think of that is facing a similar situation?
- Who else in your network should I talk to? I have to meet my 12-person quota.
If you don’t ask the question, people will not offer up someone else for you to connect with.
Website Networking Leads
This one may be more geared towards people looking for clients vs. a job. However, there is a rise in job seekers creating their own one page portfolio to showcase their accomplishments. In either case, make sure that people know how to get in touch with you and follow-up to everyone that responds sans spammers.
Participating in LinkedIn groups and their discussions will increase the amount of people who want to connect with you. The more connected you are, the better information you will have when conducting research and searches.
When evaluating what groups to join, include professional, functional and task related (job seeker, small business etc.) groups in your mix. Don’t be a lurker, participate so that people know you opinions and can evaluate if they want to do business with or employ you.
One of my clients originated from Twitter. There are many recruiters and human resources professionals that use Twitter on a daily basis.
People freely share more of their interests on Twitter than LinkedIn. For example if you are into wilderness or sports and want to get into that field, you can find people who may have connections into those industries.
Figure out the hash tags that these people use and start to send messages using the tags. Follow them and there is a good chance they will return the favor and follow them. If you send a message, make it count.
Finally, be creative about where you find your leads. When you do get a lead, follow-up with them. They many not respond the first time – remember persistence is virtue.