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Networking for Career Opportunities: How to Make a Positive Impact

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Clarity Training and Consulting was invited to the Career Mums‘s Career Networking Session as an Employer yesterday and I was privileged to talk to many of the mums who had taken or are going to take a break from their full-time work to dedicate time to their children and families. As a mum, I had gone through that path and totally understand how difficult it is for these courageous women to go through these transitions. Therefore, I decided to blog today about some insights I had picked up from the event that I hope will help those mums I had met as well as those of you who are currently looking for career opportunities.

Positive Job Networking To-Dos

Be Enthusiastic and Keep to the Power of 3: It is great that many of the mums were ready to pitch their skills and past experiences to the job. In a job networking event, the employer has to talk to many candidates and it is not easy to remember everyone. Therefore, if you want to to leave a powerful impression, keep to the Power of 3 – 3 minutes and 3 key points. Keep your pitch to three minutes and organise it into three key points. It would be easier for the employer to process what you are saying and also remember you as a prospective candidate.

Slow Down to Connect: Slow down your speech so that the employer can process what you are saying and relate your pitch to the skills and profile they are looking for.

Listen, Understand, Relate –> Connection

The first three stages must happen first for the employer as they are listening to you before they can connect to what you are saying. These stages also apply in any communication exchange for the person we are talking to. If you are speaking too quickly or too much, the employer may not be able to catch what you are saying, much less understand, relate and connect.

The Power of Hair: There is a saying that our hair can either make or kill an impression, and I think it is quite true when it comes to career networking and even job interviews. If you have long hair, it is more professional to tie it up, especially if you are blessed with thick, voluminous hair (that can, however, be distracting to the employer you are talking to!). You may choose not to tie your hair if you have fine silky hair that falls nicely into place. The point here is to look neat and groomed. 

The Power of Words: Lastly, words are powerful and can communicate much about you and your state of mind. It is important to develop a habit of choosing your words carefully while still being authentic and enthusiastic (not easy as we tend to be careless about our choice of words when we are enthusiastic about something!) Here are some power phrases to use and some negative phrases to avoid:

Power Phrase 1
I am looking for a job. – has a connotation of desperation (x) 
I am looking for a career opportunity. – communicates opportunities and growth (√)

Power Phrase 2
I think I am very suitable for the job.  – may be a little presumptuous
I have the relevant skills and experience that you are looking for…(elaborate) – more objective sounding (√)

Clarity was looking for someone with digital marketing experience and many of the career mums did not have these skills. However, from an employer’s point of view, we also understand that digital marketing skills are harder to come back as the technology came about only in the past 8-10 years. However, what should candidates say and not say then?

Power Phrase 3
No, I don’t have the skills
. – dead-end (x)
No, I don’t have the skills but if you can provide training, I can do it. – The effect of this phrase may depend on whether the employer is looking for a candidate with ready skills or someone whom they are open to training.

Currently, I may not have the exact skills but my experience in (related area) will allow me to learn quickly and pick up the skills. Also, there are a lot of tools and information on the internet so I would certainly upskill myself to prepare for the position. – Communicates someone who has a great learning attitude. Many employers are looking for this type of candidates. (√)

A great learning attitude is a valuable asset that a prospective candidate can have as we are in an era where new skills and knowledge need to be picked up constantly by the individual.

So good luck and happy career networking!

This article is written by Michelle Lim, Principal Trainer of Clarity Training and Consulting. Click here to find out more about our business communication training. If you are looking for Trainer certification in business communication, click here.