Career Networking for Outcomes – The Starter Kit [Brief Edition]
Who is this reference guide for?
This career-networking guide is most useful for professionals who are serious about making a career transition within the next four to five months. In particular, coaching clients who have implemented these ideas with the greatest success have fallen into the following categories:
- Mid-level professionals who want a starting point that will help them launch networking conversations with senior-level professionals.
- Individuals who have been exclusively looking for the right opportunity on job boards and career websites with little success—and are willing to change their behavior.
- Anyone who wants to identify decision makers and influencers with greater precision than ever.
- Professionals who want to attract higher-earning opportunities—think salary jumps of 25%-plus.
- Employed job seekers with little leisure time who need to maximize limited after-hour efforts.
In-person networking is being underutilized following the advent of job boards and career websites. What I am seeing as a career consultant is that in-person networking is not prioritized. Previous efforts had not been thought about strategically, leaving them fruitless. Folks were not talking to the right people, encouraging anyone to actually go out on a limb for them, or capturing key insights that could have helped them land higher-earning jobs. Based on these poor prior experiences, I conducted a recent survey where an astounding 54% of those surveyed are now “hesitant to network and utilize their connections.” Some feel as though they were asking for handouts, while others see it as a complete waste of time since there are plenty of job-search tools with direct feeds to hiring managers.
However, being referred into a company by a current employee via your network is the most promising and efficient way to land a job—if done correctly.
It’s most promising because employee referrals have the highest applicant-to-hire conversion rate—but only 7% apply. This accounts for 40% of all hires.
Meanwhile, the same survey respondents concurred with this statement: “I am fighting against time. My job search is taking longer than I expected.”
A job hunt conducted exclusively through career sites takes longer than one that optimizes networks. Did you know that you can find, land, and start collecting a check up to 26 days sooner if you were referred into a firm by a contact than if you applied via a career site?
As a result, if you want to land a plum role faster than your peers, you will have to stretch beyond your comfort level. It takes courage, which my clients bring to the table. Meanwhile, on my end, I empower them by helping them figure out who they should talk to, what to say, and when.
Do you want to know what to say?
A. How to Ask for an Initial Meeting
*This section is most useful when you do not have a relationship with a contact*
Launching any conversation with a request is poor etiquette. Therefore, you should not ask for a job at the onset of a conversation with a prospective networking acquaintance irrespective of the depth of this relationship. Instead, try any of the following variations in person on the phone, or via email as a last resort.
Script #3 [to see all 15 scripts download the full edition: Career Networking for Outcomes_Complete Starter Kit_Llarena]
I would like to meet with you for one hour on __________. It’s my understanding that you are trying to figure out how to do __________ (ex.: penetrate the East Asian market, gain market share from Y, etc.). I would be more than happy to prepare for our meeting, during which we can spend 30 minutes thinking through the most effective paths toward your goal. During the next 30 minutes, I would like to ask for your brainpower in thinking through various alternatives on how I can penetrate ____________ (ex.: company, better position myself for a ____________ role, or expand my job-hunt strategies).
Case study: A former capital markets professional who was looking to get into investment banking used this script as his starting point for a meeting with the decision maker in a boutique firm. He landed the job over that lunch hour.
B. How to Ask for a Contact
*It’s critical to narrow down who you wish to speak with before engaging in these three scripts—at minimum, the business units in which they work *
Script #5 [to see all 15 scripts download the full edition: Career Networking for Outcomes_Complete Starter Kit_Llarena]
You are affiliated with ___________ (ex.: organization) OR You are on the board of ___________ (ex.: Jobs for America’s Graduates). I am working on __________ (i.e., transitioning into _________ OR becoming better acquainted with ________). Attached is a sample of the homework I have already done on the topic and what I have learned. As a result of aiming to close my knowledge gaps, I would like to be introduced to _________, who is also affiliated with _________ (ex.: organization). I would like _________ minutes of their time over the phone. Here are some of the questions I intend to ask. Thank you in advance for considering this request.
Case study: This is how I secured 15 interviews with executives for my upcoming book, which is focused on helping organizations gain self-awareness around what their fittest employees desire. The executives included Marshall Goldsmith, Beverly Kaye, Janet Hanson, and Laura Fitton.
C. How to Ask for a Recommendation/Endorsement
*This section is most useful when you have a DEEP relationship with a prospective contact*
Script #9 [to see all 15 scripts download the full edition: Career Networking for Outcomes_Complete Starter Kit_Llarena]
In an effort to land a role in ___________ (ex.: business unit) focused on ___________, I have done the following legwork. My résumé and cover letter are currently in the system, and I have interviewed with _________, __________, and ___________. Their feedback has been ________. I am seeking your internal endorsement regarding my candidacy. I have drafted a note that you can tweak and forward to any of the above-mentioned individuals who have an influence on my candidacy. Alternatively, you can use the content of this information during any of the conversations you may have during the course of your day.
Case study: This worked for a senior leader in financial services who was looking to work into another financial services firm. Although she had ties to senior leaders in the new firm, I coached her to subtly remind the organization about her interest and candidacy via more junior staff members whom she also had strong relationships with. As this is being published, the new firm is drafting her an offer letter that will increase her earning potential by more than 50%. Of course, we had worked aggressively beforehand to prepare her for five key meetings that helped position her strengths and potential contributions in that new salary range, which can be the topic of an entirely different eBook.
E. How to Ask Someone to Hand-Deliver Your Résumé [to see all 15 scripts download the full edition: Career Networking for Outcomes_Complete Starter Kit_Llarena]
F. How to Ask Someone to Keep You in Mind for Openings [to see all 15 scripts download the full edition: Career Networking for Outcomes_Complete Starter Kit_Llarena]
Given my success in coaching clients to more quickly, efficiently, and successfully network, I will be offering a course at NYU in 2014 entitled “Take Your Search for a Job Offline.” In the meantime, this piece offers an intimate look into how working with a career consultant can significantly streamline your job-search efforts, especially since drafting one note can take a nervous job seeker up to two hours! Engaging an expert also helps you push through the uncertainty of not knowing what is next, which can compel even professionals to accept less than desirable opportunities just to leave a bad professional situation. It helps to have the support until you secure the best opportunity. So consider this guide a starting point. Incorporate the various scripts in your own self-directed job hunt. You can land an opportunity more quickly if you network with more of the right people, and this in turn can produce results in as few as six months.
However, I encourage you to think about the alternative. I offer a white-glove service which includes five to fifteen coaching sessions (each 45 minutes in length) offering an end-to-end solution for the busiest professionals. With my assistance, my most successful clients have landed the most enviable jobs in fewer than four months. One client landed an investment banking job in 30 days and garnered a 50% salary jump. Another secured a position in business development earning 60% more than he had anticipated, plus full relocation support. Meanwhile, another client recently accepted a position in his dream company in fewer than 30 days.
Together, we’ve analyzed job descriptions, selected the most appropriate contacts to speak with, tackled résumés and cover letters together, and strategized on how to appropriately follow up with the warmest leads. These joint efforts have significantly focused and accelerated job hunts that could have dragged on. Across the board, each of my clients’ investments have produced aggressive ROIs, and the best part is that, once they’ve worked with me, they then know how to more effectively conduct their own job hunts in the future.
Email me [email@example.com] if you are ready to start, change, or speed up your efforts so that you can finally feel like you are back in control of your career.
5 top posts to help you more effectively network your way into a job
About Melissa Llarena
Melissa Llarena is a firsthand career transition expert (having gone through 16 business-unit changes in 10 years) and president of Career Outcomes Matter. She provides employers of choice with the strategies and tools necessary to support successful employee transitions into their firms, within their organizations, and beyond their companies. In parallel, she coaches individuals to keep her finger on the pulse of what makes for a desirable company (and boss) in an ever-changing job market. She holds an NYU psychology degree and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; she earned full merit-based scholarships for both institutions. Sign up for her blog at www.careeroutcomesmatter.com.
To see all 15 scripts download the full edition: