SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
Everyone knows that the secret to landing your dream job is to network--network often, and network well. Let’s say that you’ve already achieved top-tier, networking master status. You’ve sought out, talked to, and retrieved the contact information of the target professional, whether it may be the founder of a small startup or a college recruiter at a large firm. Good job, networking master! You did it! What’s the next step? How do you transform this 10-character-long email address into an actual job offer?
Step 1: “Thank You” Goes a Long Way
The primary goal here is to be memorable. Shoot the professional a thank you, or follow-up email. Thank him/her for his/her time. Touch on some of the topics you discussed with him/her. Throw in some subtle (emphasis on subtle) compliments. Hint that you want to keep in touch, and that you want something more than just a hello and goodbye. Try to be personable without appearing too personal.
Step 2: Long Time No See
If possible, visit the professional in person. Dropping by on a whim just to say “hi” won’t be effective since professionals in the working world are extremely busy. Instead, reach out through online networking and suggest catching up over a lunch or coffee. Shoot him/her an email asking if he/she is free and can grab a quick bite to eat, but don’t be offended if he/she is busy. Instead, ask for a good restaurant suggestion to keep the connection from fading away. Keep in mind that you should suggest this get-together at least a week in advance. This time frame gives the professional time to see the email, respond, and schedule you in. Less than a week isn’t enough time, and two weeks is too much time. Going this extra mile to arrange a meeting will pay off in the end!
Step 3: Follow the Follow-Up.
Hopefully, the lunch meeting went well--there’s only one thing you can do now before you wait. Just like Step 1, shoot the professional another letter of thanks. Truly show your gratitude for the professional and express how thankful you are that he/she gave you a chance to prove yourself to him/her. If the professional paid for your meal, don’t forget to thank him/her for that. If you paid for your own meal, don’t forget to thank the professional, regardless. Be optimistic--even if the professional does not respond with a promise to assist you in finding a job, don’t drop the relationship right then and there. Continue to occasionally follow-up with a “hello, how are you doing?” Keep your name relevant. Your professional efforts will be rewarded!
While networking and initially establishing connections is very important, it’s also equally important to follow-up and strengthen the relationship over time. If you don’t follow up, it will more difficult (and awkward) to re-establish the connection in the future. Not keeping in touch with one connection runs the risk of missing out on other possible, stronger connections. Keep in mind that most professionals have been in your situation before and know what you’re going through. You formed a connection for a reason and they want to help you just as much as you want their help. Don’t be afraid of the unknown--embrace it instead.
Good luck and check out more blogs at ProSky for daily nuggets of wisdom and the occasional cat meme!