(By Lainee Beigel)
“When attending networking events, set a goal for yourself. It could be to set up some informational interviews or ﬁnd out more about a particular ﬁeld. With that goal in mind, have a pre-prepared intro that will allow you to start talking to people and lead into the questions you want answered. For example, “I notice you’re in-house counsel at NBC. What an amazing position. I’d love to hear about your career path.” The goal here is to be interested and enthusiastic. If you bring these two qualities to the table, everyone will want to help you.“
Have you ever wished that someone would simply tell you (in ﬁve words or less) the secret to getting a job? Well, here it is: Learn how to communicate well!
It’s so simple, but oftentimes students don’t spend enough time honing these skills. You must learn how to speak to others in an effective way so that you can grab the attention of those who can ultimately help you.
The days of employers hiring you based solely on a resume are over. The resume may get you someone’s attention, but ultimately your personality is what will land you a job. If you don’t have these skills, you can acquire them.
Throughout my life, I have been using communication skills to reach my goals. It has been almost like a secret weapon. It started back in high school when I didn’t think I had high enough SAT scores to get into my “reach” college. However, instead of waiting and wishing, I decided to sell myself. I scheduled an interview with the admissions department and took a train to DC. In person, I explained that although I was the President of the National Honor Society, I had trouble with standardized tests.
During the conversation, I highlighted my grades, the activities in which I was involved, and explained how this school would beneﬁt by having me as a student. When I received the acceptance in the mail, I was sure it was in large part because I found a way to set myself apart. After college, I went on to law school and used my schmoozing skills to obtain informational interviews which have allowed me to make valuable contacts, and obtain internships that have led to jobs. You want to get a job? Start selling yourself. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, practice. You can start by using these tips:
Have a Goal in Mind
When attending networking events, set a goal for yourself. It could be to set up some informational interviews or ﬁnd out more about a particular ﬁeld. With that goal in mind, have a pre-prepared intro that will allow you to start talking to people and lead into the questions you want answered. For example, “I notice you’re in-house counsel at NBC. What an amazing position. I’d love to hear about your career path.” The goal here is to be interested and enthusiastic. If you bring these two qualities to the table, everyone will want to help you.
I’ve often overheard my colleagues say they wouldn’t reach out to various contacts for fear of “bothering” them. The truth is, the worst thing that will happen when asking for an informational interview or requesting that someone forward your resume is they won’t respond. Okay, so count your losses and move on. I have certainly reached out to people who haven’t been willing to help me. However, nine out of 10 times people are willing to help someone else succeed.
When you’re speaking with someone, look them in the eye and show enthusiasm. This seems simple, but people don’t always do it. Speak passionately about what you want, and let it shine through. If you’re nervous, write out questions you want to ask, and practice with someone before your meeting. You can even bring a list of questions to an informational interview to make sure you’ve covered all of your points. Being prepared with questions shows you cared enough to prepare, and that you’re truly interested in learning more about the person you’re meeting.
Showcase Your Personality
If possible, request an in-person meeting. When you meet with someone face-to-face, you make a personal connection and are able to demonstrate your personality. If your interviewer likes you, it’s much more likely that they’ll remember you when an opportunity arises.
Keep In Touch and Say Thank You
Always follow up after an informational meeting or networking event. Sending a thank you note or email is a great way to begin a relationship. I was once told by a mentor to never lose touch with anyone, because you never know where they’ll be in ﬁve years. That turned out to be some of the best advice I ever received.
The bottom line is that learning how to communicate with people in your industry is the key to success. Let your inhibitions go and reach out to people who may be able to help you. Once you get a meeting, showcase your personality so you’re remembered. The more connections you make, the more you optimize your chances of getting a great job.
(Source: Levo League, Business Insider)
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”