So this is now my third blog in the series of “What I have Learned While being Laid Off”. Feeling like I should be a professional networker at this point in my 7 months of job searching (but who’s counting!), I thought I would share with you what my experiences have taught me thus far.
First and foremost, you must diversify the events you attend in the hopes of making that miraculous connection that will land you a job. Job networking events like the Life Science Networking are a great opportunity for networking and support, but don’t limit yourselves to only this population of truly awesome people who are in career transition. You should also expand your horizons so that you “rub elbows” with people who are in your field of expertise and may perhaps be currently working in one of the companies that you are targeting. Some suggestions to broaden your social circles would be to do some volunteering, sign up for various activities, attend conferences, lectures, or join several local Meetup groups. These are all such great ways to connect with people who have similar interests. The more people you know and get to know you (see next paragraph), the greater your chances for getting the inside scoop about that fantastic job opportunity.
The expectation for job networking is that at a particular moment in time you will meet someone (“Person A”) who knows someone (“Person B”) who may know someone else (“Person C”) who is looking for a candidate just like you. Luckily, you will then get connected to this decision-making person (“Person C”). What do you think your chances are with this scenario? Obviously, timing is everything and the probability for all of these connections to line up correctly at any one point in time is probably rather low. This is where another aspect of networking comes into play, which brings me to my second networking recommendation to be memorable. Although acting outrageously or wearing a crazy outfit to an event will definitely get you remembered, I would probably choose to go another route! Networking is not about merely meeting new people; it is about genuinely building a lasting relationship with them over time. Go out to coffee together, visit with them each time you see each other at the same events, follow-up periodically to see how they are doing, etc. When you get to know someone beyond just a brief meeting at one event, they will remember you and the type of job you are looking for if in the future they become aware of some job opportunity in your field. Now time is on your side and your chances of being connected to the right person have increased enormously. Meeting someone new today may not provide you with a job lead now, but may several months later but only if they still remember you!
Naturally, this works in the opposite direction just as well. If you happen to hear of a position that may fit someone you have gotten to know well, you will be better poised to help make a connection for them and what a great feeling that would be! Diversify your networking and keep those connections strong.