Networking - make it work for you

Go back to work, change your work, re-train or do entirely something different to make your working life work for you!  While you toss around ideas and before you make the next move on the 'chess board' of life - start networking!

Networking is a rather overworked word for getting around, exposing your mind to different and interesting ideas and people, looking at entirely different options and more.   motherInc. asked Robyn Henderson - global networking guru, public speaker and author to provide tips on making it work for you.

BE SEEN GET KNOWN, MOVE AHEAD

With Robyn Henderson

What is networking and why does it account for more than 75% of jobs in the hidden employment market? If you agree with the statement that people want to do business with people they know, like and trust – then you understand networking. And when it comes to the workforce – hiring a friend of a friend – saves time, money and effort. Plus more often than not, you would only recommend people that you know will be right for the job. Networking is basically treating people the way you would like to be treated. Most people don’t even know that what they do on a daily basis is in fact networking – a basic life skill.

"Make it easy for your friends to recommend you for potential work opportunities."

1. GET YOURSELF A BUSINESS CARD

Please don’t tell me, “I’m only a mother, I don’t need a business card” if you have been out of the workforce for a few years. Yes you are a mum, and a potential worker and it’s a great idea to make it easy for potential employers to make contact with you. Consider putting your contact details on a business card and listing on the back the types of work you are looking for and the hours you are available. Then print up 20-30 cards (Avery labels make perforated business card pages that look quite professional) and give these to 10 “mates” – ideally people who are working. “Not sure if you can help me with this, but if you hear of anyone looking for casual or part time work in XXX industry, could you give them my business card. Would you mind if I gave you two cards just in case you hear of anything. Rest assured, I would do a great job and would not let you down.”

2. VALUE YOUR WORTH

You may have been out of the workforce for months or years. However, when you were working full or part time prior to having children, you held a responsible role, commanded a sizeable salary and were a fantastic employee. Just because you took time out to start a family, does not mean you have lost any of those skills.
Please don’t introduce yourself as “I’m just a mum”. Justa’s don’t often get employed. I am not saying for a moment that you lie or deceive a potential employer. However, you might like to put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, if I were they, would I employ me? Probably not, if you are going to put yourself down and minimise your past experience.

Think about the various roles you are currently holding with your children. Running school meetings, being involved with coaching or supporting sporting activities, after school learning etc. – all require skills of leadership, teamwork, delegation, co-ordination, positivity and organization – just to name a few. Listing all this involvement under “current employment” is a great way to reassure an employer that your days are not filled solely with watching Days of our Lives. You have a brilliant mind, don’t be afraid to show it off in an interview.

On the networking side, think of all those linkages you have within your children’s networks – you might like to give out more business cards to those people you regularly associate with within those networks.

"Remember people will not value you, if you don’t give them something to place value upon."

3. BE CLEAR ON YOUR AVAILABILITY

No matter how keen you are to work, don’t take on a role with working hours that will conflict with your pre-determined availability for your children. This will cause short and long term conflict and stress for you and your family. Be firm, be clear and be prepared to say no. Trust that the right job will come along for you.

4. SEND THANK YOU NOTES

One of the easiest ways for you to stand out from your competitors, who are also being interviewed, is to send a thank you note – hand written of course. “Thanks for your time during my interview today. I feel I could make a valuable contribution to your team and look forward to hearing from you once you have made your decision”. Is this pushy? Far from it, it’s an opportunity for you to reinforce your enthusiasm.

If by chance the turn around from interview to decision making is insufficient for you to send a card, and even worse – you hear that you didn’t get the job, send a thank you note anyway. I know it sounds crazy. However, the employer interviewed 10 people and only 1 got the job. 9 missed out – you will be the only one of those 9 who will send a note. “Sorry to hear I did not get the XYZ job, I was looking forward to joining your team. However, if the successful candidate does not meet your expectations, please reconsider my application.”

"Be seen, get known, move ahead – or in this case – get that job."

5. READ THE DAILY NEWSPAPER

If you are pursuing a role in the corporate world – it’s important that you know what is happening in your marketplace. It’s great to get local gossip from people that you used to work with, but being up to date on industry news, decisions that may affect their company, marketplace trends, takeovers etc. will make you stand out as being knowledgeable and confident.

6. BE OPEN TO OPPORTUNITIES

Nine months ago, I moved my home and business from a major city to a small coastal town 1000 kms away. Although I had a support network of friends, I knew I needed a part time support person. The nearest secretarial support agency was 40 minutes north and things were not looking promising, as the admin work piled up. I happened to mention to a client in another state, that I had relocated my business and mentioned the town. She knew it well, a good friend of hers lived there with her family and she thought she was looking for part time work.

We connected via email, had one phone meeting and based on the trust that I had in my client, I was more than prepared to give this woman a chance. From the start, she was very clear on the days she could work, the times available and she was happy to take some work home if it was appropriate and transportable. We discussed and hourly rate and she started the next week – and is still working with me. Bill Gates calls it the trilogy of trust. It’s the trust that one person has in another, which is then passed on to a third party.

"Networking makes the world go round. It’s not something to be feared ever, but rather something that can open doors for you anywhere in the world."


Good luck with the job search – and always remember – to those who believe, anything is possible. Happy networking!

Global networking specialist Robyn Henderson, has spoken in 10 countries, presents over 150 times each year and has never advertised. All her work comes from networking, referrals and her website: www.networkingtowin.com.au
Phone (07) 5523-0153 or 0407 906 501 or email at info@networkingtowin.com.au
 
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