|Students at the HEC Paris Executive MBA receive exclusive training on how to succeed in any market scenario. Topics include but are not limited to: leveraging your own experience, decrypting market trends, and getting your network to work for you. This is a snapshot of what’s on offer at our Personal Professional Development (PPD) workshops, a key sub-feature of the Executive MBA curriculum.
Landing your dream job requires a clear and focused network that you can leverage at a moment’s notice. For seasoned career consultant, podcaster, and HEC EMBA presenter Joseph Liu, knowing how to network can make or break your next job search. What follows is derived from his workshop material, wherein he shares his perspectives on improving your approach to networking effectively, maintaining important professional relationships, and improving virtual networks.
According to Liu, of all the ways to find a job, from speculative applications, job boards, social media, company posting, recruiters, and networking, networking is often the most effective. According to job surveys, up to 80 percent of available jobs are never advertised. There are plenty of reasons that stop us from doing more networking, but most can be boiled down to the time commitment of looking for a job; fear or shyness; uncertainty around where to start; or cultural norms.
With enough effort, however, all these challenges can be overcome.
The first thing to recognize is that networking demands time and effort. Patience is paramount, but so is dedicating time to networking. Networking is about giving and taking, and when fortunate enough to be taking, don’t ask for too much too soon. Above all, networking is about relationships; as such, keep yours solid by personalizing outreach emails and demonstrating your respect for the other person’s time.
Building Your Network and Keeping it Hot
According to Liu, 3 kinds of contacts exist in your professional network: cold, warm, and hot.
“Cold” contacts are people you haven’t connected with in a long time. “Hot” contacts are people you’re actively communicating with, and “warm” are somewhere in between. Transforming a cold contact into a hot contact takes time, so identify vital connections and keep them warm.
One of the best bets for staying in touch nowadays is through online networking platforms. Boost your visibility and build relationships with former managers, former colleagues, mentors, classmates, and prospective employers. Go to places where you can see and be seen. These days, that means virtual events and webinars.
Meet with Purpose
Once you land a 1-on-1 meeting with a decision-maker, Liu recommends taking specific steps to set yourself up for success.
Start with the obvious: a solid introduction. Give personal highlights, including a history of key accomplishments, and be sure you can clearly articulate what you are looking for.
Liu stresses the importance of preparation for informational interviews. Researching the organization and individual are essential. Knowing the person’s professional background and any mutual contacts can help facilitate a smooth conversation.
Given the importance of thoughtful communications, stay consistent by sending an email after your interview, thanking the interviewer and showing intent and interest.
Make sure your social media profiles are up to date. According to an April 2020 Handshake survey, 80 percent of recruiting will remain virtual, so Liu recommends you get your virtual setup ready: make sure your space, your technology, and your screen etiquette is up to snuff.
Networking takes immense time and patience, but at the end of the day, it’s all about opportunity. According to Liu, the more effectively you network, the more likely you’ll be in the right place at the right time. Click here to see how the HEC Paris Executive MBA can help put you in the right place every time.
Joseph Liu is a workshop presenter at the HEC Paris Executive MBA. He is a career change consultant, professional speaker, and host of the Career Relaunch Podcast, featured as a top career podcast in Forbes, Glassdoor, and Business Insider, which has ranked as a Top 10 career podcast in the US, UK, and Singapore. Based in London, he’s been a featured speaker for TEDx, MarketingWeek Live, and The Guardian. He’s also a contributing writer to Fast Company and Forbes, and have been featured on CGTN’s Global Business America and in Forbes, Fast Company, Glassdoor, The Muse, Monster, Real Simple, SUCCESS Magazine, The Ladders, and Career Builder.