Networking with a Marketing Plan (continued)

Networking with a Marketing PlanIs your networking not working? (Or not happening at all?)

You’ve heard that networking is crucial when you’re looking for a new job, but you may not feel that it can really work for you.

In my previous posts I’ve presented a networking method that has been proven effective by thousands of smart job seekers. This post will help you put it into practice.

If you haven’t yet read the other posts, my January 8th post  introduced the concept, explaining why a marketing plan and target companies list are so essential. Last week’s post showed a sample Personal Marketing Plan and how referring to your plan can help you set up a one-on-one meeting with new contacts who may be able to help you in your search.

This may leave some questions in your mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

“Who will I network with? I don’t have a lot of professional contacts.”

Start with anybody – former co-workers, managers or clients, classmates and professors, family members – and build from there. As long as you end every conversation with “Who else should I talk to?” you will continually get closer to valuable inside contacts and hiring managers.

This is where LinkedIn can be tremendously helpful. Many people find Facebook and Twitter useful as well for building a network of relationships that you can then deepen with strategically chosen one-on-one meetings.

“What will I do and say in the one-on-one meetings?”

After a little friendly chitchat, take a moment to go over your skills and the type of organizations you’re interested in, as described in your Personal Marketing Plan. Then give a copy of that document to your contact and ask these three questions:

  1. What do you know about any of the companies on this list?
  2. Given my criteria, what other organizations should I add?
  3. Who else should I talk to?

Jot down any information they give you, without evaluating it, as in a brainstorm. Then go talk to the people they referred you to. And so on!

“How should I follow up afterwards?”

First, send a thank-you card, not an email. A card feels more appreciative, and it’s likely to sit on the person’s desk for a while, reminding them that you exist. Remember, your goal is to maintain a relationship for ongoing mutual benefit. Otherwise, assurances that “I’ll keep you in mind and let you know if I hear of anything” aren’t worth much. Buy a box of cards ahead of time.

And always report back to your contacts about how you followed up and what it led to. People want to know how their advice was helpful, and finding out helps keep them interested in your search.

Look for ways to be helpful to your contacts. Perhaps you asked a question and the reply was “I wish I knew – that information would be helpful to me, too.” When you later find the answer elsewhere, send it on to your contact.

“What are the results of all this?”

You’ll gradually find that you’re becoming well informed about companies among whom may be your next employer. Information is power! For example, it can help you write a much smarter cover letter. And of course, you’re becoming known to people who may hear of an opening. You’re on track toward accessing those three quarters of all jobs that are filled through word of mouth.

“How can I organize all this information I’ll be gathering?”

A contact management system or other database is extremely helpful. I recommend JibberJobber. You’ll have paper as well – notes, cover letters, etc. Sort it into categories and label some file folders. Get organized early in your search, before it gets overwhelming.

Make sure you have a system for reminding yourself to follow up on certain dates. You can use JibberJobber for this, for example, or schedule tasks in Outlook and/or keep a tickler file.

“Yeah, but…”

If networking with a Personal Marketing Plan is not working for you, or you have a problem with starting, that problem has a solution. Don’t give up. Keep trying. You may want to check out my Networking Jumpstart service and enlist me to help you maximize your networking productivity.

Make networking work for you!

Networking with a Marketing Plan

We’ve all had the experience of hearing from a friend who asks, “Do you know of any job openings for me?” The answer is usually very short and sad: “No, I’m sorry, I don’t, but I’ll keep you in mind!” And how well do we really keep them in mind?

Here’s a technique that can make networking less stressful and more successful: using a Personal Marketing Plan to start upbeat, productive conversations.

In my last post Networking: Organizations vs. Openings, I discussed the importance of focusing your networking on gathering information about your target companies or organizations. To guide you in doing this, create a document like this sample:

Joe Jobseeker

(Contact information)


Regional Sales Manager

Seasoned Manager and Sales Consultant in construction and energy management with experience as Regional Manager for Fortune 500 energy firm and as Owner / President of startup (grew to $200K by second year)…” (etc. – but keep it short!)


Energy Management  |  Team Leadership  |  (etc.)  |  (etc.)  |  (etc.)  |  (etc.)   |  (etc.)

Position Sought / Criteria

Position Sought:  Regional Sales Manager
Industry:  Energy
Size:  Large Fortune 500 company, or green energy company of any size over 100 employees
Location:  East Bay, South Bay, San Francisco; or Denver, CO area

Target Organizations:

ABC Big Energy
Green Innovators, Inc.
(etc. – about 50 organizations)


Then use this document in the following ways:

To focus your networking efforts. Your goal is to gather information and contacts that can help you get a job in any of these companies.

To help your networking partners see how they can help you. If you tell me “I’m looking for a job,” I have no idea how to help you. If you tell me, “I’m looking for a job as a sales manager in a large energy company in the Bay Area or Denver,” now I know what kinds of information to search for in my mind and my address book.

To refer to when asking for a meeting. “I’ve written a marketing plan for my job search, including a lists of organizations I’m interested in, and I wanted to show it to you and get your reaction to it. Can I buy you lunch or a cup of coffee on Friday?” You may find that this opening line gets a better response than others. It’s very low-pressure; your contact knows they’re only being asked for their reaction to something you have prepared.

This approach can make networking less nervewracking and more productive. And your contacts are more likely to remember you, since they’ve had a more complete introduction to you and what you’re looking for.

In my next post, Networking with a Marketing Plan #2, I’ll provide very useful tips for using this method. To ensure you don’t miss it, you may want to subscribe to my blog.