Every time I talk about the power of networking, it surprises me how many people still think I exaggerate. I remember my last post on the great blog of Joanna – Szwajcarskie Blabliblu, where I gave an example of networking during lunch breaks. I remember reaction of a few people who said it was not possible to network whilst eating or that I was a hypocrite – pretending to dine with somebody when the real reason was to network or get a job.
The fact is, humans are social animals. We spend the whole life in social communities. And it does not matter if you belong to a group of nature lovers or video gamers, we all bond with people similar to us. That is why it is not bad, hypocritical or fake to talk about your interests, hobbies or job search to somebody when eating lunch.
The question is… how to do it. To help you with this, I would like to give you link to the quotation about networking and marketing:
If you go for a lunch with your ex-colleague and your objective is to mention you need a new challenge in your career. But if you say it the way the person thinks you are a random worker who cannot offer his/her company anything on top of what they already have, unfortunately your lunch did not end with much success.
I am not a typical sales person, I don’t naturally brag about my achievements or my company. Moreover, often I am too modest about what I do. It was my weak point and I decided to fight against it. Let’s compare two sentences:
“I am a French teacher. I finished my studies in 2008 and had a 4 year experience in training and teaching afterwards. I created an e-learning platform to learn languages. Ever since, I have been engaged in recruitment but I also organize French and recruitment training sessions and I would like to be more engaged in teaching at your school.”
“I have been involved in teaching French since the beginning of my studies. My lessons have always been made-to-measure. I personalize my training sessions – when getting to know my students, I choose the best method for them e.g. more visuals, using e-learning or focusing on communication. After 4 years of creating e-learning platform to teach languages, the platform that has still been used after 10 years in my language school, I decided to coach people and help them in finding their jobs. I created some training materials about how to create CVs, prepare for interviews and I organize networking events. In the meantime, I have been teaching via Skype and attending cultural events near Zurich during which I teach French. Teaching is my passion and having strong pedagogical background makes me a great added value to your school.”
It is not even about the length of both statements. It is all HOW you say things. In the first statement you get many facts but you don’t know if the person likes teaching, how he/she teaches and why they want to be more engaged in teaching. From the second statement you get an image of a passionate teacher having many personalized teaching methods, who uses his/her training sills even in recruitment, being involved in some extra teaching work after work. Which one you would hire for a teaching job? I would choose the second one who seems much more motivated, engaging and qualified.
Of course both people are the same person. But in the first example I didn’t use my marketing skills. Even 1 year ago, when having some tough moments changing my job, I had a tendency to put myself down when talking about my job. But after a few weeks I understood I can take much more from the job I have but also that people will have an image of me based on how I painted it. We always say “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and as much I would like people to follow this phrase and not to be judgmental, we all are. So next time you write me a message saying “Hey Kasia, can you help me finding a new job? I have not much experience and I don’t think I have lots of chance to get anything…”, please think before pushing “Enter” button. As hard as it sounds, I might unconsciously prejudge you and not be too eager to help you with networking – who would like to hire an ordinary Joe who doesn’t know much about what he/she does?
So sharpen your marketing skills and… start networking 🙂