Why “face time” is key when networking

May 13, 2010 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Social networking is de rigueur in a job hunt these days — online connections are a good way to spread word about your search quickly and efficiently, and also an important way to enlarge your network. But that’s just a start. Many job hunters make the mistake of finding new contacts online but then never meeting them in person. And that in-person contact can make all the difference in cementing a relationship that will help you in this search and throughout your career.

Why don’t job hunters make more of an effort to build “face time” into their search? A few obvious reasons: Scheduling can be difficult, you may not want to “trouble” the new contact and frankly, it’s often just easier to tap away at the keyboard and say that you’re networking. But if you really want to develop a community of people who will reach out to others on your behalf — which is how most successful job hunters land jobs these days as so many positions are not advertised — you’ll need to make that personal contact.

Here are some tips on how to do so effectively:

*Set firm but achievable goals. If you are job hunting full time, aim for at least one to two in-person meetings a week. If you are job-hunting-while-employed,  one meeting a week may be a better target (you can work them in at your lunch hour or before or after work — perhaps on your way into work or on the way home). These don’t have to be long, involved meetings — we’re talking about a half hour for coffee. But if you make a goal of having in-person meetings at least once a week, you’ll get in the habit of doing so. And success breeds success — after someone you meet in person introduces you to someone in their network who can help you, you’re more likely to embrace this strategy. It works, but you have to work it!

*Get used to making the “ask.” After meeting someone online who could be a good contact, come right out and say you’d like to buy them a cup of coffee and discuss your mutual interests. Then offer a few dates (and times) that could work. Make it easy for them — say you’ll come to them (and if you know where they work, do a bit of research and suggest a coffee shop in the neighborhood, that’s less awkward for them than if you suggest going to their office). Be flexible and available. If they suggest other times and dates, work with that. If a phone call seems appropriate, a phone conversation is often a good warmup to an in-person meeting. Remember, they are doing you a favor and you want to be available, considerate and appreciative of this opportunity.

*Make the most of the meeting. Your goal in meeting someone face to face is to forge a connection that is difficult to achieve in the virtual world. Ultimately, you want them to help you by introducing you to others in a position to help you (and better yet, hire you!) yet you don’t want to seem crass or to be demanding. Start with small talk about your mutual interests — pay attention to what seems important to them and discuss that. Then be open and direct about your search and tell them where things stand and where you want to be headed. Often, if they feel like a connection has been made with you, they’ll mention organizations you should contact and people they may know there. That’s the best scenario. (Bring a notebook and take notes. You may think you got the details but it’s best not to leave it to chance.) If they don’t, ask them if there are people they could introduce you to in places that could be helpful. Again, don’t push but suggest. And never ask them to consider you for a job — this is about networking and if you’re too forward and push too hard, they may decide they don’t want you as a contact.

*Follow up. This is often where even savvy job hunters drop the ball. They have the meeting and make good use of the contacts suggested, but don’t get back to the person who introduced them. This is a key step. Within 24 hours of the meeting, send a thank you (email is fine) and if they seem interested, attach your resume or other material — such as a link to a story you discussed with them or to your Web site or blog. And if they make introductions for you, send them a quick email and let them know when you connected. You want to cement this contact not only for now but for the future, and keeping them in the loop is the best way to do that.

*Don’t rely only on the “usual suspects.” When you’re starting a search, it’s often comfortable to meet with former colleagues, for instance, who you’ve gotten to know in the past. That’s fine but branch out from there. Remember that it’s a numbers game — and the more people who are putting you in touch with other people, the better your chances of finding a position that not everyone else you know is seeking! That’s why it’s smart to make contacts with those outside your circle or even outside your profession (see Jan. 22 post, “How non-journalists can help you land a journalism job”) who know a whole different group of people who may have access to a whole different set of openings. Also, seek out people who enjoy networking and likely will welcome the opportunity to put you in touch with others (see April 26 post, “How to network with the well-networked”). This not only will likely open up a number of doors for you but will be a more enjoyable face-to-face experience — as the well-networked tend to make others comfortable about the process. Just like most things in life (and in job hunting), the more practiced you are at face-to-face networking, the more effective a strategy it will become in your job search.

*Another event this weekend — if you’re not going to the National Press Club for the journalism “boot camp” Saturday May 15 and are interested in science journalism (and networking with real-life science journalists!), here is a day-long event to check out at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center:

Science Writing: From Eureka Moment to Digital Publishing

*As always, a variety of job leads to peruse, pursue and pass along:

*This could be right for someone with an environmental background who wants to make the transition to an executive position in the non-profit world — the World Wild Life Fund (WWF) in D.C. has an opening for a vice president of climate change:

VP, Climate Change 10060
World Wild Life Fund – Washington, DC
policy promotion, partnership building, and communications. This is an amazing opportunity to lead a… effectively, outstanding communications experience…
From World Wild Life Fund

*With a hat tip to poynter.org (for these next two positions), here’s an actual good newspaper opening — The Washington Post is seeking a fine-arts editor in D.C. for its Style section:

Fine Arts Editor–The Washington Post POSTED: May 10
Salary: Open Location: United States
Employer: The Washington Post Type: Full Time – Experienced
Categories: Broadcast, Newspapers and Magazines, Online

.

Employer Information

About The Washington Post

Washington Post Media

View all our jobs

Job Description

The Washington Post is seeking applicants for the position of fine-arts editor of the Style section, our 41-year-old showcase of  voiced criticism and narrative.  This is a challenging and rewarding position, charged with guiding coverage of  theater, visual arts and architecture in the nation’s capital. This job demands a passion for and knowlege of  the arts, ideally local institutions as grand as the Smithsonian, the Kennedy Center and the National Gallery, as well as important regional venues of national significance, such as Arena Stage, the Phillips Collection and the Textile Museum. The role requires a strong and sensitive manager who can inspire creative intellects, a wordsmith who can hone criticism, profiles, trend pieces, scenes, as well as innovate new  ways of covering the arts world.   The fine arts editor must be a collegial staffer who can help  imagine new story formats and themes for our Sunday culture showcase.  He or she will also help conceive, launch and curate a new blog, Arts Post, which will be a vigorous forum for debate, diversions and news about creative minds found here in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

If this is a position that excites you, please send a resume, a personal statement, and up to six examples of writing or impactful editing that you’d like us to consider by Wednesday, May 26. Send materials to Lynn Medford at medfordl@washpost.com and Ned Martel at marteln@washpost.com.

NOTES: Employer will assist with relocation costs.
Additional Salary Information: Negotiable

*The Office of Inspector General in the  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has an opening in D.C. for a public affairs specialist:

Job Summary

Public Affairs Specialist POSTED: May 07
Salary: Open Location: Washington, D.C.
Employer: Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General Type: Full Time – Entry Level
Category: Communications and Public Relations

Employer Information

About Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General

The mission of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), as mandated by Public Law 95-452 (as amended), is to protect the integrity of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs, as well as the health and welfare of the beneficiaries of those programs.

View all our jobs

Job Description

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a new position available for a Public Affairs Specialist to work as a creative and technical producer, director, writer and editor on basic internal and outreach multimedia material. We’re looking for a smart, creative person who can help write and produce video releases; b-roll footage of OIG Special Agent operations; employee training, education and recruitment programs; and multimedia graphic support. Be part of the OIG’s efforts to use new media to tell the American public about our efforts to fight fraud, waste and abuse in all HHS federal health programs.

*And last but not least today, with a hat tip to mediabistro.com, the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville has an opening for a publications director:

Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Industry Teaching/Academia
Benefits 401K/403B, Dental, Health
Job Duration Full Time
Job Location Rockville, MD USA
Job Requirements PUBLICATIONS DIRECTOR

CHARLES E. SMITH JEWISH DAY SCHOOL
ROCKVILLE, MD

The Upper School Publications Director will be responsible for the journalistic and graphic design education of the upper school in addition to serving as advisor of both the newspaper and the yearbook.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Teach a full courseload of journalism and yearbook classes, including reductions for production responsibilities;
Serve as advisor to the school yearbook and newspaper;
Teach journalistic and graphic design skills;
Develop a curriculum which meets the needs of the publications as well as general educational requirements of the students, including advanced journalism and yearbook classes;
Have a deep understanding of journalistic ethics and be able to impart this to the students;
Work with the school administration on defining the goals and standards of the journalism program;
Provide leadership for faculty members advising other school publications (literary and world language magazines); instruct faculty and students in graphic design, image editing and publication programs;
Work with all literary magazine advisors to ensure the following needs are met:
o Technology
o Journalism standards
o Budgetary
o Bidding/printing process
o Design concerns
o Award applications
Oversee technology needs in both offices and within the school (as related to the journalism programs), and advise the principal accordingly;
Coordinate all production and distribution activities;
Be present to supervise all production activities;
Coordinate annual journalistic ceremonies, trips and other extra-curricular endeavors;
Build rapport and work well with students;
Motivate student staff;
Interface with vendors, administrators, teachers and staff;
Liaison with families concerning yearbook ads and community sales campaigns;
Coordinate with Development office concerning newspaper ads campaigns and school solicitations.

Education and Experience: Degree in Journalism, Communication, English, English Education or related field, Masters preferred. 2+ successful years experience teaching required; experience working on publications required.

Qualified candidates should submit letter of interest and resume to http://www.cesjds.org/resume Job Code PD200.

Our School
The Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) of Greater Washington, located in Rockville, Maryland, is one of the best known, most prestigious independent Jewish community day schools in the world. With approximately 1,200 students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, CESJDS is also one of the largest pluralistic community day schools in North America. The School follows a dual curriculum of general and Judaic studies and maintains a commitment to a values-based education grounded in Jewish texts and tradition, a close relationship with Israel, and a high level of knowledge of the Hebrew language. CESJDS is approved by the Maryland State Department of Education and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate all applicants without unlawful consideration of race, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

About Our Company Internationally acclaimed for its unparalleled excellence, the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) is the largest K-12 Jewish community day school in North America. Serving 1200 students on two dynamic, state of the art campuses, CESJDS offers a full program of general and Judaic studies, co-curricular and athletic activities and community service. CESJDS provides rigorous study infused with creativity, innovation and hands-on engagement and cultivates students who have the academic knowledge, problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills to be successful in the 21st century.

Good luck on the hunt today!

Jodi

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Ways to open up your search — including for federal jobs How to transfer your journalism skills to a new field

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