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5 Reasons to Engage Your Network and Your Target Employers

Posted by Rob Riggins

Who you knowIt’s critical to keep your name in front of your network during your cleared job search. As HR Executive Patra Frame often says, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you…and who remembers you.”

There are a variety of ways to keep your name top of mind with your network. Certainly the most effective way to stay in touch with your close-in network is through personal, one-on-one direct communication. Make sure to use this as part of your cleared job search strategy. And for those of you in certain parts of the cleared community, this may be the only way you’re comfortable engaging your network.

But the fringes or less well known parts of your network are often the most effective for a job search, because the fringes of your network are exponentially larger. Here are some strategies to reach those less well know contacts and to develop new contacts and keep your name top-of-mind.

Share and Comment

Keep your name in front of your network and expand that network by sharing content that is relevant to your profession through your social networks. That may be GovLoop.com, LinkedIn, Twitter or even old-school email — really any network in which you participate with other professionals. Then be sure to comment on and engage with the information that’s shared by others in your network as well.

For some of us this takes a little practice and we may struggle with what we should share, when to share it, and how to introduce the information to our audience. The best way to learn is by doing. Jump off the dock and start swimming, or in the words of Nike, “Just do it.”

If you’re in logistics what are topics that are shared by other logistics professionals that are relevant to the field? Has a new tool that improves workflow been released? An announcement of expansion by a major employer? A change to common practices in the industry? Think strategically and introduce the information you choose to share to your network.

The same holds true when you’re commenting on or sharing what others have already communicated to their network. You can add to the conversation by pointing out or addressing a statistic in the article, or a particularly important point. Or ask a question of the person who originally shared the piece if there is something you don’t understand or would like their professional opinion on.

Engage Your Target Employers Online

Every cleared professional should go through the exercise of determining the target employers that they want to work for and focus on those targets in their job search efforts. It’s a smart strategy to also be flexible should opportunities arise from other employers too.

Once you have your target employers, follow those companies’ social media channels. You’ll get slightly different information about the company through each of its communication channels. For example a company’s Facebook page is typically more community-oriented than the information they share on their Twitter feed or their LinkedIn company page. When relevant, comment on information the company shares or share that information with your own network.

Through this continuous networking activity you make new connections, provide value to your network and gather intel that benefits your cleared job search.

Why It Matters

Sharing, commenting and engaging with your target employers serves several purposes.

It’s often how conversations and relationships begin. A cleared professional in your industry shares an article. You comment back and ask a question. They respond by answering your question. That’s how relationships get started, more information is shared, and job leads or referrals for new positions ultimately take place.

It adds value to the network. By sharing relevant information and engaging in conversation you are adding value to others and to the network as a whole. It may not seem like it, but you are helping others.

It increases your network’s familiarity with you. Being a known entity means that you have broken the ice with others in your network who may not know you well. Then when you do comment or ask them a question, or vice versa, there is already a level of mutual respect or further awareness that has developed.

It keeps you more professionally engaged. If you’re mindful about information that is relevant to your profession and to your target employers, you’re making more of a conscious effort to engage in your professional future. That demonstrates to a hiring manager that you’re passionate about the field that you are seeking work in beyond a paycheck.

It keeps your name in front of your network. We all have our own priorities and mountains of things that we need to remember. So even though you are my former colleague and I recall you fondly, you’re not always top on my list of priorities or things that I remember. When I hear about that great opportunity that you may be perfect for, am I going to remember that you’re in a job search if I didn’t talk to you or see your name recently?

Staying connected is a particularly good strategy if you are out of work. Firstly it engages you with your profession and is a positive job search activity, and secondly it demonstrates to a potential employer that you are networking and actively working toward your goal of employment vs. hanging out at home catching up on the last season of “House of Cards.”

This entry was posted on Monday, October 19, 2015 9:00 am

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