3 Easy Tips to Leave a First and Lasting Impression
September 20, 2021
I have been working in the career field for over 20 years helping early-, mid-, and late-career professionals in job transition. Networking is always a topic of discussion since it is a key success factor in finding the right job! My goal is to make sure my clients understand how to network effectively and see where they might need some guidance.
I start with my definition of networking, which is: building relationships with people who can provide you with information, advice, and contacts. You want to leave a favorable impression with those you meet so that if they hear about a position that is not published, they will let you know.
It’s important that my clients and I have a mutual understanding of the definition of networking. I’ve noticed that some job seekers think networking is all about them. They tell everyone they are looking for a job and ask everyone to let them know if they hear of any jobs that would be good fit.
That does not sound like building relationships. Rather, it’s a transactional relationship focused on one purpose: Finding a job!
That isn’t how networking operates. It leaves a negative impression because it’s one-sided… all take and no give.
If you want to leave a favorable impression with people you meet, you need to start by focusing on the other person first.
Here are three simple steps to get you started:
Tip #1: Use their name at least 3 times: At the beginning, middle and end of the conversation.
Start by using it as you are introduced: “Jayne, it is a pleasure to meet you. Thank you so much for taking your time to talk to me.” If their name is difficult to pronounce, this is your opportunity to ask: “Can you please pronounce your name again. I want to make sure I am saying it correctly.” This is a very gracious way of respecting them and people always appreciate it.
Mention their name again during your conversation and most importantly, use it at the end: “Jayne, I appreciate your insights today and I intend to follow up with many of your suggestions. Thank you!”
In addition to helping you build a respectful connection with them, you’re almost guaranteed to remember their name in the future because you’ve done the repetitive work to get it into your memory.
Tip #2: Show interest in the other person by asking questions. You can ask them what they do for work and what they like about their job. You can take it even further and ask how and why they entered their field. Invite them to go into a little bit of detail by asking questions like, “Can you tell me a little more about that?” Resist the urge to chime in or comment right away. Use this as an opportunity to practice listening as you give them the space to tell their story before you bring the conversation around to you.
Tip #3: Follow up twice! First, send them a note of appreciation either by email or with a handwritten note. Mention some of the highlights of the conversation, which will show that you were listening and also remind them of what you talked about.
Then follow up again a couple of weeks later. Perhaps you can send them an article related to something that they mentioned when you first met. You could also give them an update on your job search.
Wait – job search? YES! You do get to tell them about your job search. Just don’t start there, and don’t let that be the only thing you talk about.
When you make it about them, they’ll remember you and be more willing to help you.
Leaving a first and last impression with people you meet might take a bit of effort and awareness on your part. Trusts me… in the end, it is worth it!
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