6 Tips to Create a Networking Plan that Works

Would you like to get more results when you network? Here’s how to create a networking plan that works:

1. Schedule a regular time each week to network. Without a plan, we all get busy, and suddenly, when we need it most, our network is outdated or scattered. By scheduling regular time in your calendar to network, it not only gets done, but you’ll feel more confident and comfortable in networking situations, avoid binge-watching your fave show, and meet people who want to help you propel your career. People want to help you and see you succeed.

Think about how you feel when you help others, whether it’s recommending a favorite restaurant or referring someone to your preferred service provider, like a financial advisor, lawyer, career coach, or other service.

2. Schedule 10 minutes each day to use social media. I say 10 minutes or you’ll end up down the internet rabbit hole. Determine what actions you’ll take online. Here are a few to try: status updates, relevant links that demonstrate your thought leadership, and quick emails to those who’ve updated their statuses with wins. For example, if you read your LinkedIn notifications and a friend has landed a new position or received an award, send her a brief congratulatory note.

3. Determine which offline, in-person groups you will join and how often they meet. Take an active role in the organization, such serving as the chapter ambassador. This helps you meet more people and overcome some of the jitters of being in a new group. Click here for ideas on which groups to join.

4. Set networking goals for yourself. For example, when attending a new group, set a goal to meet three new people. Three people who need to know about you based on your career or business goals. Write this goal in your calendar where you’ve scheduled the meeting.

5. Prepare and rehearse your sound bite. Networking can take place any time, any where. Be prepared.

6. Update your network regularly with the action steps you’ve taken. If a friend referred you to a contact and you set up an informational interview, let your friend know that you made the connection and got results.

You’ve got to fuel your network to fire it up! Scheduling networking activities makes your network thrive. And regular contact with those in your network will help you achieve your career goals much faster.

Want more networking tips? Check out Rock Your Network®, the book.

Copyright 1998-2019 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp, author of Rock Your Network®, writes, speaks, and coaches on career management, networking, social media, and personal branding. Need a speaker for your association, company or private coaching to rock your career? Let’s talk!

Five Moves to Rock Your Network® Online

Editor’s note: updated May 2019

How do you leverage social media to network effectively and stay top of mind? Check out these five rock star moves to get connected, get known, and make your network thrive:

1. Pick Three: With so many social media networks to choose from, I recommend picking three so you can manage them well. For career and business development, I recommend: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. As of 2019, LinkedIn has more than 610 million members, Twitter has more than 326 million users, and Facebook topped 2.38 billion.

2. Create a branded bio: Tell a story in your social networking bios. Let your personality pop. Don’t regurgitate your resume information or company bio. Know that chemistry helps you land and KEEP new clients and jobs. Likability counts, be interesting.

3. Know what you want: When you start networking online, it’s important to know what you want from the activity. If you want new clients, be sure your profile is on brand, up to date, professional, personal, and communicates your value and scope of practice. Have a professional, current headshot. For #LinkedIn, add a custom background image or color as well.

4. Join a group: Know that in order to make the most of an online group, you’ve got to take an active role. If you’ve got a business, join groups where your ideal clients will be, including niche and specialty groups. For job seekers, find out where your ideal employers hang out and join those groups. People like to do business with those having similar values, backgrounds, and experiences.

5. Be relevant and add value: Social networking gives you a chance to demonstrate your thought leadership and set yourself apart from your competition. As an executive and leader in your profession, it is even more critical to demonstrate your expertise online.

Take Action: Review your current social networks and identify at least three action items from the above list you can implement immediately. Schedule time to effectively manage your online network and communicate with your contacts regularly. It only takes minutes a day to fuel your network and fire it up!™ That way, your network is there for you when you need it.

Grab your free social media action plan here!

© 2006 – 2019 | Wendy J. Terwelp | All rights reserved.

Your Career Brand: Who Are You? Employers Want to Know.

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The legendary rock back The Who posed the immortal question: “Who are you?” They aren’t the only ones who want to know. Potential employers and network connections will ask you the same thing and you need to be ready with an answer that makes you look good and stand out from the crowd.

Here’s what typically happens at networking events. I was the keynote speaker for a group of financial leaders, primarily Chief Financial Officers (CFOs). Before my presentation, individuals were asked to introduce themselves briefly. The introductions sounded like this:

“Hello, I’m John Smith, and I’ve been a CFO for 25 years…”

“Hello, I’m Mike Miller, and I’ve been a CFO for 17 years…”

“Hello, I’m Fred Jones, and I’ve been a CFO for 22 years…”

While I’ve changed the names and varied years of experience, the introduction phrases are real. If an employer wanted to hire one of them, they’d sure want to know more information.

Sometimes when we’re in a group or working with fellow professionals, colleagues or students, we fall into the “group think” mode: “Well, John said his name, title, and years of experience, that’s what I should do.”

Instead, think about what sets you apart. When all things are nearly equal (like years of experience, education, job duties), it’s your personal brand, who you are, that sets you apart, and those are the reasons an employer will hire you.

As one Staffing Industry CEO told me, “Companies want to know what kind of contribution you can make to their success – not how many years you’ve been working.”

Not only do your achievements with quantifiable results set you apart, soft skills do too. One Labor Relations Director told me she hires for attitude over skill every time. “You can always teach a skill, but never an attitude,” she said. And she is not alone.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to help you identify your differentiators:

• What makes me a star? Translation for employers: “Why should I hire you?”

• What are my greatest strengths? If you’re not sure, go on an Attribute Treasure Hunt™. Survey your closest friends, family, and colleagues and ask them what they feel are your greatest strengths. Then ask them what three words come to mind when they think of you. Their feedback will give you a great head start on identifying your brand attributes and differentiators.

• What are my top five greatest achievements of all time? What are the skills, abilities, and values used to achieve them? What’s the common thread running through each?

Answering these and similar questions can help you identify your personal brand. By knowing who you are, what you want, and what makes you unique, you will be able to clearly communicate your goals and unique value to people in your network and to potential employers. (For more questions to help you uncover your brand and other job-getting tips, check out “Rock Your Job Search™”.)

As for my group of finance executives, luckily, my presentation was about how to create an effective sound bite (elevator pitch). Needless to say, attendees took action. I look forward to hearing about the personal branding action you take next and your results. Go get ‘em!

® 2011 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.

How to Create a Networking Plan that Works

Would you like to get more results when you network? Here’s how to create a networking plan that works:

1. Schedule a regular time each week to network. We all get busy, even when unemployed. (Those “honey-do” lists seem to grow.) By scheduling regular time in your calendar to network, it not only gets done, but you’ll feel more confident and comfortable in networking situations, avoid the hermit syndrome, and meet people who want to help you. Know that people want to help you and see you succeed.

2. Schedule 10 minutes each day to use social media, including providing status updates, relevant links that demonstrate your thought leadership, and quick emails to those who’ve updated their statuses with wins. For example, if you read your LinkedIn updates and a friend has landed a new position, send her a brief congratulatory note.

3. Determine which offline, in-person groups you will join and how often they meet. Take an active role in the organization, such serving as the chapter ambassador. This helps you meet more people and overcome some of the jitters of being in a new group.

4. Set networking goals for yourself. For example, when attending a new group, set a goal to meet three new people. Write this goal in your calendar where you’ve scheduled the meeting.

5. Prepare and rehearse your sound bite. Networking can take place any time, any where. Be prepared.

6. Update your network regularly with the action steps you’ve taken. If a friend referred you to a contact and you set up an informational interview, let your friend know that you made the connection and got results.

Make your job search your new full-time job. Scheduling networking activities will not only help you feel more productive, but help you land your next job much, much faster.

Want more networking tips? Check out Rock Your Network®, the book.

Oscar®-Winning Networking

Academy Awards Oscar®

Jeff Bridges did it. Sandra Bullock did it. Mo’Nique did it. And you can too.

In fact, all the Oscar®-winners did it so much, there’s a special link on Oscar.com about it. Here it is: http://bit.ly/b6t8Dj

What am I talking about? Why the easiest way to start a conversation. The easiest way to network. The easiest way to get enough courage to pick up the phone.

And the winner is…. THANK YOU.

You are not alone. No matter how crappy you’re feeling about the downsizing, the firing, the economy. You have people in your life you’ve helped in some way and they want to help you now.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers,” he says no one is a self-made man. You’ve got a community, a neighbor, a family, a time period when you were born…

And, when you listen to the Oscar®-winners’ speeches, they get it. They thank everyone. And I mean everyone. From fellow actors, to camera crews, to directors, to family members, to teachers, to past Oscar-winners who inspired them, and more.

You can too, because you do have people in your life who’ve inspired you in some way at some point in time.

One client recently said to me, “I hate small talk.” Well, thanking a person isn’t ever small. Another, “I don’t even know where to start.” How about “Thanks!”?

Coaching Challenge: Go ahead. Be an Oscar®-winner. Pretend you are one of the nominees. Make a list of all the people you would like to thank who have helped you along the way. Start with at least 10. Yes, your family members count! (Heck, Jeff Bridges thanked his mom, dad, three kids, wife…)

Next to each person’s name, jot down something you’d like to thank them for. Here’s one of mine:

Dad – Thanks for telling me to not complain to my boss unless I have a solution. Now, I’m the boss and this is advice I’ve passed on to my clients. This has helped my clients feel more confident, think about solutions (rather than problems), and even get promoted.

Now pick up the phone, and make the call. You can do it!

Thanking a person is the easiest way to start a conversation. And definitely an Oscar®-winning tip you can use in your job search – and beyond – to make your network thrive.

Want even more tips to make your network thrive? Check out, “Rock Your Network® for Job Seekers.”