The interpersonal skill set is one of the most valuable assets to carry with you during job search, yet many of us are conflicted by trying to engage a stranger. Why is that?
I see dozens of people every week who have trouble trying to successfully talk with someone who might just be their next great job lead resource. Does that mean this target person may HAVE that next job? No, but it means they may know someone that knows someone looking for just the right set of experiences and skills that you, the candidate, may have.
There are lots of great tools and tips about this thing we call networking. But let’s face it, people have been networking since before the Pilgrims had thanksgiving dinner with the Indians. The concept is about connecting with people around you in ways that facilitate good personal relationships. OK – we don’t always like new people we meet. I get that. But what about those we do meet where we walk away saying to ourselves “wow, they were great to talk to”?
Did you know that most of the time when someone makes that kind of impression on us, we did most of the talking and they did most of the listening?
So here’s the secret. As you find yourself in a “networking situation” try doing a little more listening and a lot less talking. Ask questions to prompt your discussion partner to do the speaking. Let them gracefully transition into asking you follow-up questions. Never feel like you have to somehow open up and dump your life story on a stranger so that you can get to the bottom line about needing a job. Let the dialogue flow a little more naturally.
For more help with career transition, visit www.askJMS.org