Essential Tools

Posted on December 22, 2015

Alright so these are some of the basics that you should start using to make yourself more effective at networking and information gathering while job hunting and even after.

Tools: 

Digital

Twitter: Collect info, find people, find events, judge organizational fit and possible networking targets. In 140 characters you can learn a lot as people are often times more honest during a shorter exposure. You can see a mixed stream of who the person is both professionally and personally and this allows you to get a better understanding of what they may be like in person.

LinkedIn: If you have met someone and want to understand them you need to look at what they have done with their life. You want to see who they are, what education they have, and what jobs they have held. For that we go to LinkedIn. Someone is shaped by where they worked and the school they attended and knowing this info can help you understand the people you are looking up to in the professional world. Also they can often give you a clue about how you go from step 1: Student to Step whatever: Partner, executive, rockstar employee.

Also after you meet someone a few times you can add them to LinkedIn as a colleague and they are more likely to accept the invitation. Once they have added you to LinkedIn you have given them access (and a small reason) to review your online resume, so it better be polished!

Feedly (or any RSS reader, but really just use feedly): The people you follow will from time to time post information that you will find interesting or self affirming (for your goals, ideas, etc). While you can bookmark them, you should also note that they didn”t just give you a fish; they showed you where they fish! Take the source of the content and subscribe to it via an RSS reader. You want to be able to collect all sources into something easy to consume and review on computers and mobile devices.

In Person:

Professional Dress: You should always have something in the closet that is clean and a pair of polished shoes or clean kicks. I am a fairly dressed down person, but that doesn”t mean that I don”t have clothing for when I want to network. I have good suits, vests, shirts and sport coats and I also have a collection of shoes and sneakers that are at the ready. You do not always have to look 100% Don Draper at these events. You can infuse some of yourself into the outfit. I suggest that you do, actually. It will make you stand out, but it will also allow you to be comfortable. I can often be found at events in black jeans, a dress shirt and tie, vest and flashy sneakers, or in a graphic tee with a suit coat with jeans and dress shoes. Events have different moods and you’ll eventually be able to judge them via the online listings. Nothing hurts you more than not being dressed correctly. The people across the room will judge you!

Business Cards (get them at moo): Name, degree, twitter, phone, email. Not boring looking; you want it to stick out. You will come to a point in good conversations where you want to connect with the person after the event. It could be because they share similar views, they are willing to connect you to someone else, or simply because you think they are an important contact to have. You always want to have something to give them. If you are a student and you have a business card then you are on another level. Most students do not have cards and guess what. Even if I don”t keep the card of a student, it makes me think better of them when they have a card. They are networking with a purpose and are prepared.

These are the just the basics. I will be following this up with advanced tools at some point, as well as using examples of these things in my continued writing. Knowing this stuff will make all my rants seem much more on point.


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