Take Your Networking Seriously

I love reading career search blogs from people who make sense and speak to readers in an honest, no nonsense way. Duncan Mathison, Unlock the Hidden Job Market, is one of those authors who makes us see things in a clear, concise way. He makes sense.

In his blog article, “Networking? Make Them G.L.A.D They Met You,” he talks about running a successful informational meeting. “’Always make a great first impression,’” he writes, “I hate job search advice like this.”

So do I. What does this mean really? To me it means don’t spill your cheese platter at a networking event held in a stuffy restaurant. Or forgetting the name of someone you just met a few days ago, and let them know it by just saying “Hi” with a blank look in your eyes. People know when you don’t remember their name.

It’s said that at an interview an employer might make his/her hiring decision based on the first 30 seconds to three minutes of meeting you—it depends on who is interviewing you. What Mathison is talking about is a networking interview, or better known as an informational interview, or my preferred way of saying it, an informational meeting.

So what does this G.L.A.D acronym mean? To paraphrase Mathison:
G stands for having a good meeting. This we can assume is the most important piece of the whole process. Ask intelligent questions about the job and company. Take notes. Don’t ask for a job; rather ask for additional leads. Impress the person which whom you speak. But this is by no means the only piece of the G.L.A.D process.

L stands for less than a 24-hour response. Which means getting back to the person with whom you interviewed within a day. Send a thank you by e-mail and recap the interesting conversation you had. Show your gratitude; after all, he or she was doing you a favor.

A stands for taking action. Let the person know how your job search is going. He/she will be interested, generally concerned. Keep the person in your loop. Have you contacted the leads you were given? Did they amount to anything? People want to know about your progress.

D stands for doubling  back. If your initial meeting resulted in a subsequent meeting, be sure to thank the person for the referral. Like, “Thanks for the referral to Jan, Bob. The meeting went extremely well, and I was able to get more referrals. Things are picking up.”

The last three letters look like courtesy on the surface, but what you’re really achieving is keeping your newly developed network alive. Follow up is essential in networking. As Mathison says, “…networking contacts are gold and good ones are hard won.” If you’re going to put in the hard work of arranging and conducting the informational meetings, do things right at the meeting and also with your follow up. For a great lesson on follow up, read Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone.

Someday I’ll make an attempt at paraphrasing Ferrazzi’s outstanding book on business networking.

Bob McIntosh

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