How does one find interesting things to talk about when building relationships in job search? The answer is easier than you think. Yet most people miss it.
We start with the assumption that asking connections if they know of open jobs is a nonstarter. The answer is almost always “no”. Try it sometime just for kicks!
What is your next step after “no”? You shuffle on down the road.
Instead start a conversation on a topic interesting to the person you are talking to! What a novel idea!
Janell is in job search mode. She wants a career in patient experience, a relatively new field in health care. Information interviews have been wildly successful. Many people including leading subject matter experts have opened their doors when Janell asked for information. They answered all of her questions about this new field.
Next she narrowed her geography and identified target organizations.
Now it is time to network. Instead of asking people if they know of open positions, we suggested Janell start a conversation.
Using what she learned in information interviews and personal experience, Janell put together some “go to” questions about patient experience that seem to get conversations started. Her target people start talking and zappo wammo Janell is on the way to building a relationship. Crazy, right?
Here is the neat part. At a recent networking meeting as the conversation got rolling around one of Janell’s questions, the other person, someone very influential in her field, suggested Janell create a proposal about how she would approach patient experience. This proposal would be a spring board for more concrete discussions about jobs in patient experience.
Imagine the possibilities!
A proposal is a summary of issues with action steps and resulting outcomes. It is “content”. A proposal could be converted into other forms of content that could attract attention and lead to more conversations. The proposal would illustrate what Janell brings to the table, making her more attractive to potential employers.
The proposal could be attached to Janell’s LinkedIn profile. Concepts could be broken down into blog postings, Twitter conversations, LinkedIn Group discussions and articles. Janell could make a SlideShare in LinkedIn or a video for YouTube. All of these are searchable content that lead viewers back to Janell with positive attention.
It starts with an idea or an opinion about some topic you know well that is important in your line of work. A small amount of effort to put your thoughts in writing in different forums attracts attention, improves your credibility, leads to more connections and gives you something to talk about with influential people while networking.
What a great idea! Got a pencil?