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Olivia Gamber: Hey, guys. We’ve got a question today from one of our clients. She’s really struggling with networking. We wanted to shoot a quick video in case some of you are struggling with the same situation. One of the areas that she’s stuck is she’s identified some companies around her target list and the problem is, well, it’s not really a problem, it’s a great situation. They got openings but she needs to do some outreach, and she’s struggling to position why she’s reaching out to them and what is she asking for.
Kevin Kermes: The shift here, I think, so many people feel like it’s going to be a massive one. It’s really a nuanced one. It starts with beginning with the end in mind. The end is you want to take your specific skillset and find the problem that you can put that weight to bear against. Better put is this. You know through your work that you solve a certain set of issues, a certain set of problems. You’ve accomplished everything you want to in your current role. You’re looking for the next place to solve those problems and that’s what you’re trying to [soft 00:01:19] sell. Best place to start … Well, Olivia will expand on this. Best place to start is with people that you currently know because you’re not only going to get the best feedback, you’re also starting to build consensus that you can leverage moving forward.
Olivia Gamber: Yes. Exactly. I think with this approach, it sounds to me like there would be a cold approach that really challenge you to exhaust your network and see if there’s someone you know that know someone within that company. It doesn’t have to be the hiring manager or even someone exactly in that department. What you’re trying to find is information, and you’re gathering information that helps you appropriately position yourself if you do go though directly. That way, you have some contacts and point of view of how you fit in. Without that upfront research, you’re shooting in the dark and the odds are more like direct mail campaign because you really don’t know how to speak in the terms of that person’s [problems 00:02:19].
Kevin Kermes: A couple of things that come to mind, one is you’re starting to think about who do you know at the company. Immediately, like Olive said, you think about the department. You say, “Well, I don’t know anybody in that department.” Well, think broader than that. Think about people who have worked there before. Think about people who are customers, who are clients who may know people, who may know someone in a different department, can make an introduction, and you can start leveraging and building of these so that you can get warmer introductions to people to have conversations because that slight change, something I found years ago as a headhunter, that slight change of just being able to say, “So-and-so told me to call you,” or, Olivia sent an email that says, “Hey, here’s Kevin. Kevin, you should talk to so-and-so,” just diffuses part of that.
Then, second, as you’re getting this intel from these conversations, when you get to the point that you’re going to talk to the decision-maker or somebody that’s even closer to the decision-maker, use that intel to frame out how you ask your questions. Don’t go in and say, “Well, from my research, I understand that X, Y and Z are the problems.” In many cases, when you go to department and you say that, now you’re telling them their baby is ugly. They may take it immediately, be on the defensive and think that you’re telling them that they don’t know how to do their job. You know how to do a better job, let’s say. If you ever dealt with consultants that aren’t very savvy, this is an approach a lot of times they take. They come in immediately telling you everything that you’ve done wrong. Instead, use it to ask questions so you get them to tell you where it is that they need help. Use it as a guide to frame out your questions and take it a step back.
Olivia Gamber: I think the key point here is you’re positioning yourself as a discerning candidate that’s really doing the upfront research. Not only will that position you as a top performer, it’s also going to help you speak more directly to what’s critical to that hiring manager. Hopefully that helps. We’d love to hear you guys’ comments and let us know if you’re struggling with this, too, and let’s talk about it.