Job Search Stalled? Increase Your “Impressions” with a Networking Journal

How many marketing impressions (regardless of the medium) does it take before an individual will recognize the message and/or brand?

Many sources say that five is the magic number:

“The more times people see an ad, the more likely it is to have an impact. The optimal number seems to change based on the industry and creative effectiveness, but results seem to indicate that a frequency of five impressions per target is the most efficient.”

MARKETING

Marketing. Impressions. Frequency. Target. Why are we talking about marketing and advertising terms in a career advice article? Shouldn’t we be talking about resumes, interviews and offers? While those latter items are important during a job search, I contend that networking activity is equally important. Networking not only helps you connect with the people you need to meet, it also helps the people you need to meet find you! Skeptical about the power of networking? Read my Royal Wave post and make sure you create a bio first!

When I speak to networking groups, I go around the room and ask attendees what line of work they are in. They call out, “HR, Accounting, IT, Engineering.” I retort, “Nope. You are in Marketing.” After the quizzical looks subside I explain that everyone in job search mode is actually in Marketing – the marketing of themselves. Terms that have been coined to describe this mentality include “Brand You” and “Me, Inc.”

If you are marketing yourself effectively, the job opportunities come to you. What a treat that is – and how effective. Instead of being one of three hundred candidates applying to a job on Monster.com , you can be one of a few that have been handpicked by your network. Sounds good on paper, I know, so how do you put yourself in this position?

IMPRESSIONS

Continuing with the marketing theme, you must increase the number of impressions of yourself within your network.

According to marketingterms.com, an impression is defined as a single instance of an advertisement being displayed. During job search mode, you are the advertisement. The more you grow your network and the more you put yourself in front of them, the more you will be remembered and the easier it will be for your contacts to forward job leads to you. One of the key points is that no matter how important you are and how memorable you think you are, the reality is that a casual networking partner will forget about you in less than seven days. Less than seven days. Impressions help to extend that window!

TYPES OF IMPRESSIONS

Impressions include every:

  • Resume and/or cover letter submitted
  • Email sent
  • Phone Screen completed
  • Interview conducted
  • Networking event attended

And moving into the social media realm (for more information see my presentation on social media) every:

  • LinkedIn invitation made
  • LinkedIn question posed
  • Tweet posted
  • Blog written
  • Video resume uploaded
  • Networking newsletter deployed

You get the idea. Assuming you have a quality network that is 1,000 strong and they don’t forget about you, the likelihood of one of them recommending you for a job or even creating a job for you goes up exponentially!

THE NETWORKING JOURNAL

Many of these types of impressions are labor intensive and very necessary. Face to face meetings are critical. They help you to build rapport and credibility. No job search should be conducted without these meetings. But once you have built your network up there is no reason you can’t reach all 1,000 connections with a networking newsletter, or journal, as I call mine.

A networking journal is pretty much what it sounds like: an email communication that tells your connections what you are interested in, what you have been up to and very importantly, how you can help them. Helping others may in fact be the best thing you can do for yourself! Why? Human nature. If you help someone, they will want to help you in return. Rather simple, I know, but you would be surprised how many job seekers think only of themselves.

A networking newsletter does not have to be sophisticated. It can take the form of a plain text email. You can kick it up a notch by creating a Word document style newsletter with pictures and links. Or you can go even further by creating an email campaign using HTML. Whatever you decide, just do one!

Let’s say you are convinced that this is a great idea. What do you say in your newsletter? Here are some topics which I have used:

  • Month in Review
  • Keeping Busy
  • What I’m Reading
  • My Professional Organizations
  • How I Can Help You
  • How You Can Help Me
  • About Me

NETWORKING JOURNAL EXAMPLE

As in a previous blog post about creating a brag book to differentiate yourself, I have linked to a recent networking journal of my own. Feel free to subscribe and forward to others.

Weaving these topics together, you may just wind up with an engaging, thought-provoking and helpful newsletter which your network might enjoy reading and sharing with others. Not only will you have added value to others through your journal, you will have also increased your “impressions” by the thousands, and you might just land your dream job in the process.

Remember, It Only Takes ONE!


Guest Expert:
Matthew Levy is a well-rounded HR professional with fifteen years of broad experience in both specialist (e.g., recruiting) and generalist (e.g., HR business partner) roles at blue-chip companies, including Merck, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson.

You can see Matt’s bio by visiting his LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewflevy. He blogs at http://mlevy2222.wordpress.com/ and can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mlevy7 . Matt would love to answer your career-related questions. You can reach him via email at mlevy2222@yahoo.com.

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