Is your Net Working?

I am fortunate that I received many inquiries from people asking my advice or council about job searches. It is a privilege to be asked to help and I like to assist wherever I can. My selfish reason is that I want the universe to pay it forward to my daughters when they need assistance. Does this make me a Zen net worker?

One very good piece of practical advice I like to give is an overlooked approach that can help your network help you. When I hear from someone who says, I am looking for a job in communications, engineering or finance, I always recommend that they put together a strategic networking document.

What is a strategic networking document? This document has 9 key things in it that makes it different than a resume. Remember, it is a tool to allow me to help you.

PROFILE STATEMENT: Describe your skill set in a simple, clear sentence that does a great job of positioning who you are and how you are different. Keep it to one sentence. For example, "I have the ability to build and lead cross-functional global marketing teams that succeeds by squeezing value out of every nickel spent in marketing."  Be descriptive and demonstrate that you have something of great value.

ACHIEVEMENTS: List 3-5 successes that will help me tell your story. These examples should help illustrate how you have already been successful in similar positions. If you are looking for a national accounts management job, give 3 examples of how you found and closed several important national accounts for a previous employer demonstrating your record of success. 

GEOGRAPHY: This section lists the geographic range of your search. Is it national or local? Are you willing to relocate or are you only looking to work within 100 miles of your home? This is helpful information since it allows your contacts to know if you if you only want to speak to people within a state, region, nation or globally. 

TITLES: This document provides a range of titles that you believe you are qualified for so that it helps those you reach out to understand what type of job you could hold. Don’t put VP of Engineering if you don’t feel qualified to do that job but do put Director of Engineering, Sr. Director of Engineering, Manager of Engineering, Quality Assurance Manager, etc. The better I understand what role you can fit into-the better your chance that I can help you.

TARGETS: What are the target companies in your search? If you are really specific with 10 companies, then it is easy in Linkedin or other networking sites to see who works there and to try and network into those companies. If I know you are interested in a job at ConAgra Foods, I may be able to help because I did work for them for several years. Within my network are colleagues who still work at the company and who also know people within the organization. If you just tell me you are interested in the food business, it leaves me hungry for more information. Details help. 

INDUSTRIES: It is useful to know that you are focused on certain vertical or horizontal markets. A vertical market is a specific industry (like soft drinks or wood decking) where a horizontal market could be all distributors or all IT departments in any industry. If your networking helper knows this, it is another way for them to search through their network to assist you.

PROFESSIONAL STRENGTHS: This is useful where in a few phrases or key words, I can learn what you are really good at doing. Are you a great storyteller or do you have deep competencies in six sigma lean management training? A few key buzz words go a long way to help me understand who you are and what your core competencies are. Keep this really short and sweet too. 

ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS: Are you looking to work for a firm that really values market insights or that needs a hyper-creative thinker? Do you want to work for a manager who values your extraordinary work ethic or that appreciates your interpersonal skills? Help me understand what your dream company looks like as I search through my contacts for people to connect to you. This adds another shade to the picture you are painting.

USEFUL CONTACTS: Who can help you? Do you want to speak to people who are General Managers or Project Managers? Do you need to get in front of owners of architectural firms or software coders? If you only want to talk to IT Directors, I can search for those contacts through my LinkedIn data base. Help me help you by giving me an idea who could move your search forward?

The best way to get help from me or anyone else you are networking with is to give them the tools to assist you. A strategic networking document is a powerful tool that works to allow you to get the help you need. 

Hint: One more tip- can you put this into a chart or word document so that it can easily be placed in the body of an email. Make it really easy for the person you are networking with to easily read your strategic document. You can always include it as a PDF but I appreciate it when all I need to read is in the body of the email.  

Make it easy for me to help you. Network strategically. 

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