Outside of my day job, I’m an adjunct professor at Rutgers University where I teach a public speaking class. It’s my Monday night of fun before I’m off for the work week to have, well, more fun.
As part of the curriculum, I teach many approaches about networking and generating more referrals to the students (networking, after all, is a form of public speaking!). Most of the students are receptive because they need to land jobs and in many cases, they simply don’t know how to talk to people. They tell me that!
And by talk, I mean non-Instagram, non-text, non-Facebook, non-LinkedIn, non-email type of stuff. As important as technology and social media is, there’s nothing like the personal touch. As in meeting and actually having a conversation with someone without ending a sentence with an Emoticon (‘emoji’ as I’m told by my 11 year old).
In the classroom, I’ll discuss a networking concept (how to establish your target market, develop an elevator speech, work a room, start and end conversations, follow up, stay in touch, generate referrals, etc.) and almost force the students (homework and exams) to go to the right places, say the right things, and meet the right people. Ultimately to get out in the field and actually – talk to people.
Over the semester, before my very eyes, students are getting interviews and landing jobs. It’s as incredible as an overhand right!
I wish I could give the financial advisors, planners, brokers, reps, sales managers, agency owners, and recruiters I work with the same assignments and exams. They would produce better results!
I’m just saying.
Anyway, a student from about a year ago, Jai, graduated and landed a job as a hedge fund accountant with a bank using the concepts we discussed in class. Pretty cool!
Here are some of Jai’s insights!
IMPORTANT: See how his success can apply to you!
I researched people that I felt I could learn from and developed a strategic plan to actually meet these people. For example, I saw that the CEO of Global Markets at my bank was from Rutgers, so I decided to email him. We spoke about career opportunities and he decided to have someone guide me along my career path. This all happened from a little research and courage.
Networking is a Two Way Street
After graduating college, I wanted to learn more about politics, so I got in contact with an Assemblyman. I volunteered to work in his office in exchange for real, hands-on experience of what it means to be a politician. It’s been a year and we still speak once a week.
This is the most important lesson. No matter whom I’ve met, I have always had a genuine interest in connecting with someone that exceeds my own personal gain. This coincides with networking being a two-way street. Any senior employee at my company that I have met, I have been able to find a way to connect with them in an area outside the workplace.
Being Direct and Concise
This has mostly worked for my resume. I gave accomplishment statements that were detailed but to the point. The lesson I learned is that recruiters receive thousands of resumes a day. The more direct you can be on one page, the better. (As an aside, the same thing goes for your conversations. Don’t go into lengthy details about what you do and how important your work is. Bottom line it!)
This can’t be controlled, but I learned that when an opportunity comes, you need to be prepared. Having my PEEC Statement (elevator speech or positioning statement) in order helped me to define my goals not only for my counterparts but also myself.