I often advise clients about the value of networking to find a new job. I also advise them that a strong resume is a vital part of that networking effort. But how do you network with your resume?
One of the key ways to network is in person, at industry events or other gatherings. The most important activities you can engage in at these events are to (a) introduce yourself; (b) listen; and (c) exchange cards. The listening part is important for several reasons. First, it develops ties with the person you are talking to. Second, it keeps the conversation mutual rather than self-centered and demanding (“Hello, I’m Sam, I need a job, do you have one? No? Goodbye.”). Third, it allows you to find out whether the person you are talking to has a problem that you have the background, skills, information, and experience to help with. They may not have an opening now, but they will remember your help.
When do you whip out your resume at networking events? Mostly, you don’t. By this time, you should know your own resume well enough that you can pull essential facts from it as needed in the course of the conversation. If the person you are speaking with asks for the resume, then you are free to hand over a copy. But after the networking event, you can send the person an email (remember, you exchanged cards), thank the person for an interesting conversation (remember, you did not dominate it), and ask permission to send your resume directly.
Another way to network with your resume is online. In this case, your LinkedIn or other online profile should have the same strength and content as your resume. In effect, your profile is your online resume. You network with this resume in two primary ways.
- First, you include your LinkedIn or other online address (choose one, not all) with your contact information on emails that you send, as well as on your print resume.
- Second, you individually ask your online network for help in finding a position. If you do not want your current employer to know you are searching, you must engage in a stealth search, which some online systems allow you to do. For example, LinkedIn allows you to shut off notifications so that your activities, including connections with recruiters, are not broadcast to everyone you know on LinkedIn.
At Robin’s Resumes®, we are skilled in creating both resumes and profiles. Please contact us before you start networking, and we will make sure your resumes—both paper and online—are up to the task.