Do you know all the key players (companies) in your industry niche, in your city or region? If not, you are NOT ready to look for a new job!
Part of “You, Inc.” is knowing your assets (talents, skills, connections and experience). But another part is knowing which buyers are best for you.
With the Web at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for not knowing each of your potential employers better than you know the attributes of your favorite movie or sports star. Here are some features of each company you should know… and can find off of the Web (their company website, directories, associations, etc.)
- Name and kind of company (Sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S, C or other corporation), and size (number of employees, divisions, or locations). Where their headquarters is located — and how close you will be to it. Remember — location, location, location!
- Number of employees, and what the name of your relevant department(s) would be.
- Key customers (Find in directories or association membership listings)
- Where the hub of your industry is. Entertainment is not centered in Sante Fe, New Mexico — but the art world is!
- Key products and services … and where the money comes from! Follow the money! The departments that have the greatest impact on revenue get the most attention, resources and often, highest salaries. Money talks in business.
- Job requirements. Search for job descriptions on job websites to get a prioritized list of qualification they will look for. Know how each term is defined, and relate it to your own training and experience. Tell your story of qualification, successful experiences and networks that can help get the job done.
- Who do you know who works for the company? Call, email or text them for insights about the company, industry trends, and the job or department. Recognize that one personal opinion isn’t always complete or accurate.
- Check social media for relevant conversations about the industry and the company. But DON’T make derogatory or inappropriate comments. (And check your own social media postings and clean them up as much as possible.)
- Visit a trade show booth or other public exhibit and check out the literature. Annual reports tell a lot about the inner workings of a company. Read it for at least two years, if possible. Annual reports for public companies listed in the stock market are often posted on their website or linked to from Finance.Yahoo.com
- Drive by all the facilities within driving distance — check out their look and feel. Are they clean or unkempt? Are their parking lots full or sparsely filled. Are they heavily armoured against crime, or open to the public? You can tell a lot about a person (or company) by how they dress!
Getting to know the best companies in your niche can mean up to millions of dollars over a lifetime of work — so it is important to know where the best companies are, who their key people are, their trends and best products. It’s like getting to know a person with many fascinating personality traits! Have fun, but open your eyes to the attributes that matter most!
Here’s a networking tip you’ve probably not seen before. Sloane Berrent from CauseCast was interviewed by Andrew Warner of Mixergy about her networking techniques. Here’s one of the many good networking tips from Sloane’s interview:
Keep a free hand – Events aren’t about the food & drink. If you have food in one hand and a drink in the other, you won’t be able to shake hands with new people.
Sloane is the type of networker who returns from a conference with a 6″ stack of business cards, so listen to the whole interview for more of Sloane’s networking tips.
Networking can occur wherever you are. Like, when you’re on vacation.
Nichelle Stephens points out a few of the places where you may find yourself networking when you may not expect it:
It’s August and many people are away for vacation. This is actually an excellent time to build up your contacts. You will meet other vacationers on the plane, in the hotel lobby or on the beach. Everyone is relaxed so conversations flow freely.
One of the reasons that vacation networking can work well is that you already share some interests in common.
Be sure to pack a few extra business cards along with the sunscreen and bathing suit.
Sue Pelletier, Face2Face Meetingsnet, linked to a great “top 10” list of networking tips by Susan RoAne on Guy Kawasaki’s blog.
All of these are networking tips that I didn’t include in my Top 10 Networking Tips series.
The first nine are good techniques, but the tenth is about the philosophy of networking:
Go everywhere with the intention of having fun. People want to be around the upbeat, fun, interesting, and interested person.
When you show that you enjoy being with the people you are meeting, and have fun meeting people, then you’ll apply these networking tips and techniques much more easily and with less stress.
We frequently think of networking meetings and mixers as just a place to meet new people, but that’s not always the case. Frequently, networking events are also a great place to nurture existing relationships.
At a recent networking event I visited with someone who I had referred to a client, so I was able to catch up on how that project was going. Then, I saw a friend who sells to one of our clients. Both of these people are familiar with our new venture and during the evening introduced me to community leaders who can benefit from our new business. Later, I visited with a friend about her new business.
Earlier, I had attended the marketing committee meeting at a local non-profit organization. After that meeting several people huddled to arrange a round of golf.
It’s very common to attend a meeting and visit with people who share several of your interests and activities. Danah Boyd mentioned that “People who have relationships with each other often have shared interests, values and tastes.” In addition, “…there is a higher probability that your friends share the same interests as you than a random sampling of people.”
Attending the same meetings and participating in the same activities as others provides opportunities to increase the number of common bonds with these people.
dana’s post dealt primarily with online communities where it’s common to never meet face-to-face because of the distance. I’ve been online since there was a line to be on, so I’ve exchanged information with many people who I have never met face-to-face. Online networking is very efficient for establishing connections with lots of people very quickly.
But, it’s just as important to find ways to meet these contacts face-to-face. This leads to discovering other shared interests and participating in other activities — which strengthens our relationships with those people.
Eileen Parzek offers several good networking tips in her article Networking without the Work — and answers the burning question, “How many people do I need to meet at a networking event?”
- Think about the types of relationships you would like to build for your business network.
- Network with people you want to be like or you respect.
- Ask sincere questions of the people you meet, and learn about them.
- Research before the networking event how you could help people in that group.
- Follow up with the people you met.
- Have a good relationship management process in place.
Great tips for everyone who attends networking events.