Job Search Preparation: Networking

shutterstock_89779624Networking is a key component to preparing for your job search. If you’ve ever heard it said that it’s not what you know but who, then you’ve heard a reference to networking. Although you may know about the importance of networking, you might not know where to begin, or how to go about it. Here are some networking tips for your job search preparation.

Begin with the Familiar

Sources say that it’s best to begin with those who you know, and who are fairly close to you. That takes a great deal of pressure off, and helps you begin your networking on familiar ground. Also, close acquaintances and friends can be honest with you about your approach.

Informational Interviews

Networking is intended to be a learning experience. Conducting informational interviews is one way to learn a great deal without pressuring the other person. When you do an informational interview, you are just speaking with someone who is successful in a field that you would like to enter. If you want a career in restaurant management, for instance, you can conduct informational interviews with restaurant managers to get their take on things. Make it clear that you are not searching for a job at that time; you are just gathering information.

In this kind of interchange, you will be asking the questions for the most part. As you meet with the professional in your chosen field, bring along a notebook and take notes on what the person tells you. And him or her questions about hours, work level, first steps he or she took to get started, and other pertinent questions.

Make Them Comfortable

It’s important to make the networking partner feel at ease and comfortable. Keep the talk at a casual, friendly chat level, as if you are just having lunch with a friend (which you are!).

Be Memorable

…in a good way. The point to successful networking is to have professionals remember your name and have your contact information handy if they hear of a position or job in the field, or if they want to take on an apprentice or a trainee. So make sure you leave them with your phone number, email, and website address (because you will have a website – see below).

An Online Presence

To network in today’s world, you need an online presence. It’s a good idea to join social networking sites and to set up a blog or website. This makes you accessible to anyone who might want to look into what you do a bit further. It’s an easy reference to tell people your site’s address, too.

Have You Experienced the New Interviews?

It’s important for you to keep up with the various job titles possibly being used by the companies you are targeting. The titles Recruiting Manager and Recruiter are now being referred to as Talent Acquisition Manager or the Talent Acquisition Team. There is also a new type of interview being conducted in addition to the behavioral based interviews. The new style of interview is a performance based interview. The person conducting the interview is trying to predict future performance based on your past performance. There are also attempting to identify accomplishments and the impact of your accomplishments on past employers.

In every conversation you need to stress your accomplishments and show how you were better, faster, more thorough, saved more money and anything else that made you stand out from other people who had your job.

People are not going to take time to figure out why they should hire you. Your cover letter, resume, interview, track record and follow up process should show hiring authorities why you are the best person for their opportunity.

Did You Know that when you are looking for a job, you are involved in a sales process? You are selling your skills and ability to your next possible employer. Networking is one of the most effective ways to find your next job.

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Do It Yourself Job Analysis Example

I must admit that I am not very handy around the house.  Last year I was amazed as I watched my neighbor build a backyard gazebo by himself.  He did all the foundation, stone, and carpentry work.  It was beautiful when he finished and we’ve enjoyed sitting under it during summer evenings.  I would never attempt something like that.  I’ve never been trained in those skills and I’ve never had any experience trying to build something like that.  My wife jokes that I couldn’t nail two boards at a right angle!  Building a structure like a gazebo requires highly developed skills.  It is skill that not only makes the structure beautiful and functional, but also safe.  Image what those summer evenings would be like if the roof were in danger of collapsing!  The consequences would be disastrous.

The consequences for companies who try to hire key people with traditional job descriptions have the same disastrous impact.  The disaster is further compounded by an interviewing process that tries to validate the candidate’s resume.  A much better approach is to use proven job analysis methods.  Everyone has seen a job description sample; few have seen the power in a sample job analysis.  The primary reason is that so few corporate leaders know how to create one.  The skill and training required to draft a role analysis is no less intricate than my neighbor’s carpentry skills.  So before we review an example job analysis let’s understand the “do it yourself” consequences.   Getting this wrong can bring down the roof of your department, team, or company.  Not doing it at all could be even worse.  Here, then, in three quick steps is how to do a do it yourself, example of job analysis:

1 – Throw out the job description, you won’t need it.  Job description examples only tell you what a person needs to have.  Your do it yourself job analysis example wants to determine what a person needs to do.  Big difference.  Who really cares if a person has the required work experience, education pedigrees, etc, if they can’t get the results you need?  Quit thinking about what a person needs to have.  Your interviews need to tell you what the person can do.  The job description example rarely does that.

2 – Step two of the do it yourself job analysis is to interview all the successful people in the job.  Find out what they have done and what they do now to be successful.  The do it yourself nature of this job analysis method won’t get all you need, but you will learn some valuable information.  This is the core of your job analysis.  This is how you build your job analysis example.  It is a radical departure from a job description.  Getting step two wrong is as dangerous as using rusty nails in a do it yourself gazebo.  Once you have determined what the most successful people do and have done, you are ready for step three.

3– Write your new job profile.   Not a description, write a profile.  The job analysis does not describe who the person is; it profiles what they do to be successful.  In this example of job analysis methods you are getting straight to the heart of the matter.  If you do nothing else, set up your interview process to validate your newly created list.  Don’t look at the resume, just find out if the candidate can do, or has done, what is on your list.  This alone will increase your new hire performance measures exponentially.

That’s it.  A three-step, do it yourself job analysis example. If you really want to do this right then you might consider getting some training in the methodology or hiring a firm that knows how to do this.  Objectivity is very important when creating a powerful, high impact job analysis example.   Otherwise, use these three simple, do it yourself steps with all of your key positions.


Richard Yadon is CEO of Health Career Professionals and Managed Medicaid Services.  He can be reached at