Networking 101: How to market yourself to get the job you want

As my job search intensifies so do my learnings on what works and what doesn’t. I’d like to share a few things that have worked so far.

1. Do what you love: It’s tougher to market or sell a product you don’t believe in so if you’re marketing yourself love the work you do. Most importantly, people will find you if you are great at your work. It helps to surround yourself with family and friends who also share and reinforce the same beliefs. I’m deeply grateful to my family and friends for their support.

2. Face-to-Face Networking:  Events, conferences, association meetings and alumni gatherings are some ways to network in the real world.

Events and Conferences that I’ve attended recently: ProductCampSocal, Health 2.0 (saved $1000+ in registration fees by volunteering) and SVPMA. One that I would have loved to attend but couldn’t afford was Web 2.0.

Associations I belong to: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Usability Professionals’ Association, American Telemedicine Association, Silicon Valley Product Marketing Association and Girls in Tech. I try to attend as many meetings as I can as I always learn new things and meet new people. I’ve listed some tips on networking below:

  • Start with family and friends as emotional investments have high pay offs. In my class at business school more than 75% of students said they got a job due to family or friends.
  • Real world interactions are powerful and do not substitute online interactions.
  • It is important to stay in touch not just during the job search but at other times too as on average a person looks for a new job 4 times in his/her career.
  • Before an event or conference go prepared by learning about the companies coming to the event and the jobs being offered in that company. Select the ones that interest you so that your time at the event is used efficiently. Use some of the tools listed below to differentiate yourself from the competition (example: business card with target position that interests you).
  • Follow up with a thank you letter or a reminder. Don’t forget to thank the person who helped you get in touch with your contact. If there is one thing to take-away from this post this is it.

3. Online Networking: Networking online helps you meet many more people in a specific time frame compared to networking offline and it’s free. The best part is that you can target your search to groups you want to attract. Some effective ways to attract online traffic are:

- Write a blog so that people can read your thoughts. It also helps to comment on blogs (remember to add a link to your blog with the comment) in the same industry and thus redirect their traffic to your site. This gives you access to at least 200 readers/month.

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