Question From a Job Seeker About Networking Groups

Hi Sue;

What are your thoughts regarding this networking group? I attended yesterday, and there seemed to be a lot of entrepreneurs.  

In my wish to balance myself, I want to make sure I don't over-commit to any group that may not be helpful in my search for a job in the non-profit field. Thoughts?

Shirley

Dear Shirley,

Thanks for this provocative question. You made me think that I really want to write a blog post about this topics since so many people are in the same predicament.  

I think it’s a good idea to try a few different general networking groups and to then make 1 a part of your routine per month.  That way you get to form relationships in a community, get to see and be seen (part of Know, Like and Trust factor) and keep refining your presentation of what you’re looking for (Connecting Statement) with feedback from others who know about networking:  

  • Are you saying clearly what kinds of problems you can solve?

  • Can they imagine people they know with those problems?

  • Does the feeling they get from meeting you make it easy for them to refer you?

There are several advantages to belonging in these groups. One is they know lots of people, so they may find an “in” for you somewhere. Another is it refreshes our brains to think and talk about something unrelated to our job searches and work. Third, You get to meet really cool people and see the abundance the world has to offer. You might even expand your range of interests into an area that you never thought of, but that someone introduces you into. Another benefit is that you might be able to help someone else find out how to fill their needs, which is a must requirement for landing a job that fills our needs.  We have to be in circulation in the community. (You’re already doing this in your volunteering, but out in the community is different.)

I also think networking with other job seekers is perhaps the most important since they hear of the latest openings and leads. Again, for Know, Like and Trust, it’s important to be fairly regular. That way you will stay top of mind to the organizers, too. And it’s very likely you will hear of opportunities to share with others as you go along in your search.

 Remember: You can’t call it a search if you’re not out looking.

There are other “mixers,” too, like The Foundation Library’s courses, for non-profit job seekers.  Online is good for learning, but in-person gives you more contacts and a chance to share an experience with a few people. Opportunities for business people are Network After Work, Professional Associations and classes in continuing education. Everyone can participate in Alumni Associations. Many universities have chapters in the city where you live.

Don’t forget your other interests! You’re a whole person! Faith communities, Meet Ups, and Evenbrite are all places to find people to connect with.

Key success factors, then, are expanding your circle of contacts so you can be found by someone who would like to hire you, regular attendance, and requests to meet with people one-on-one. 

I hope this is helpful.

I look forward to seeing you again Monday at our Meet Up!

Sue