I asked ChatGPT to answer a question I’m frequently asked: how to network to land a job.
In a nice, numbered list, here’s what ChatGPT says:
Networking with someone you want to get a job from can be an effective way to establish a connection and increase your chances of securing employment. Here are some steps to help you network with that individual:
- Research and Preparation: Start by researching the person you want to network with and gather information about their professional background, interests, and any commonalities you may share. This will help you initiate a conversation and find relevant talking points.
- Attend Industry Events: Look for professional events, conferences, or seminars where you have a chance to meet the person in person. These events often provide networking opportunities and a more casual setting to engage in conversation.
- Mutual Connections: Explore your existing network to see if you have any mutual connections with the person you want to network with. If you do, reach out to those connections and ask if they can introduce you or provide any insights into the individual’s professional interests.
- Personalized Outreach: Craft a personalized and professional email or LinkedIn message to initiate contact with the person. Be clear about your intentions, express your admiration for their work, and explain how you believe their expertise aligns with your career goals. Keep the message concise and respectful, and include a clear request for a meeting or conversation.
- Provide Value: When networking with someone, it’s essential to focus on how you can provide value to them. Offer to share relevant resources, insights, or ideas that may be of interest to them. This approach demonstrates your willingness to contribute and builds a stronger connection.
- Informational Interview: If the person agrees to meet or have a conversation, treat it as an informational interview. Prepare a list of thoughtful questions about their career, industry trends, or their organization. Show genuine curiosity and actively listen to their responses. This not only helps you gain valuable information but also establishes a positive impression.
- Maintain Communication: After the initial conversation, follow up with a thank-you email or note to express your gratitude for their time and insights. Stay in touch periodically by sharing articles, updates, or relevant information related to their interests or industry. This helps keep the relationship alive and demonstrates your continued interest.
- Leverage Social Media: Engage with the person’s content on professional social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. Leave thoughtful comments or share their posts with relevant insights. This can help you stay on their radar and further establish your credibility.
Remember, networking is a long-term investment, and building genuine relationships takes time. Be patient, maintain professionalism, and focus on creating mutually beneficial connections.
There you have it. Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 —- note to ChatGPT, I’d emphasize the importance of items 1, 4 and 7.
As to number 5 “Provide Value” – that’s a tough one, when you’re likely feeling needy or anxious (as one can be during the job search phase of a career transition), and “providing value” is key in building strong, reciprocal networks. It’s the give, not just the take. It can be the stumbling block to reaching out. It (providing value or the networking give) doesn’t need to look exactly the same as the value being received. An intro in exchange for an intro, is not required – and a “LMK if there is anything I can do for you in the future” is well, a lame and generic response, tossed out knowing the other persona won’t ever likely call upon it, so therefore offering it up as “value” is, useless at best.
A few ‘providing value” clarifiers, to tweak ChatGPT’s advice:
- Research and preparation in advance of reaching out = providing value
- Maintaining connection = providing value
- Read What Gives? Practical Guidance On The Networking Give and/or A Whole Lot Of Networking Give and/or The Give When You’re Just Starting Your Career