Calgary

Get a job: Best networking practices

With more jobs cuts expected in Alberta's energy sector, we turn to a Calgary career coach for advice on how to network beyond the cold call.

'I'd rather lick carpet than make a cold call,' says Calgary career coach

Good networking does not involve cold calling, says Calgary career coach Richard Bucher. (Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock)

It's estimated that between 35,000 and 40,000 people working in Alberta's energy industry have already been laid off this year.

While many are still taking the time to process what has happened to them, others are ready to take the next step.

"Networking is about renewing relationships you already have and building new ones with the help of those you now know," said Calgary career coach, Richard Bucher.

'Warm network'

"I'd rather lick carpet than make a cold call." 

And so, Bucher recommends tapping into your  "warm network."

"These are people you know well," he said. "They see your name on a call display and they take the call because it's you who's calling. From there, you can branch out," he said.

When reaching out to someone in your warm network, Bucher suggests you start the conversation off with a friendly email or Facebook message, like this:

"I haven't talked to you in awhile, how are you doing? Let's get together for coffee. I'd love to get caught up."

If they say do say yes, Bucher says you should keep the following things in mind:

DO:

  • Look at your contact's LinkedIn profile before meeting with them. Be up to date on their profile and be prepared to talk about it.
  • Have a list of questions ready for the conversation – more than you have time to ask.
  • Do ask about their family and how they've been doing.
Richard Bucher is a senior consultant with Right Management, a Calgary-based talent and career management company.
  • Offer to buy them coffee.
  • Ask more than tell. You want them talking.
  • Keep your meeting to 30 minutes.
  • Be prepared to tell them what you are looking for and where you are looking to find it.
  • Do ask who else they know who you could talk to.

DON'T:

  • Bring a resume. You can always send one afterwards.
  • Bad mouth your former employer or share why you think you were laid off.
  • Dress looking like you just came from the gym.
  • Don't do all the talking. You learn nothing with your mouth open.
  • Don't ask for a job or if they know of any opportunities.

Networking brief

Bucher says this one-page, easy-to-read document helps your contacts help you by informing them of your background, brand, and career direction. 

It tells those in your network of three critical facts: Who you are, what you do and how you add value. When you meet up with your contacts, give them a copy of your network brief and go over it with them.

If you can help, be helpful

Finally, if you still have a job and are getting calls from people trying to network — be nice.

"If you can help, be helpful. I'm hearing stories of people not returning phone calls and ignoring emails," said Bucher. 

"Even one case where someone was lecturing the individual who reached out saying 'You should have been networking when you were working instead of starting now when you lost you're job.' "

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