Four core competencies – #2 Networking

Competencies Candidates Should Have – Networking.

A blog series from Mitchell Langbert

We recently came across a series of blogs by Mitchell Langbert that very clearly highlights 4 core competencies that college graduates should have to ensure a more successful job search. We feel that while of course these skills are a requirement for graduates, they also extend to anyone looking to expand their horizons and careers.

We liked these articles so much we had to share them.

The four skills that are covered are:

Four skills that when mastered ensure career growth and progression. These are skills that critical in getting yourself noticed and getting to the front of the queue.

Moving on from Ethics, we now cover Job Search

This is the second in a series of blogs that have been written by Mitchell Langbert, again we have summarised many of the valuable points that he makes in his original article.


Finding a job is a challenge that most of us face at least a few times. The challenge for those graduating is the satisfaction of all the hard work being translated into a monthly salary. Stepping up or changing direction also has its challenges here we cover the skills that will enable you to set and reach your goals.

Finding the right job will empower you, enhancing your focus, purpose and your commitment. Clear goals lead to successful performance, and by targeting your chief interest you establish clear, motivating goals.

The Importance of Goals

To some degree it is not so important that you find a goal that you love as that you find a goal to which you are committed. If you cannot think of anything that you really want to do, then pick something that you think is a likely suspect, and focus on it and only  it.

Interview Not for a Job, but for Information

Once you have focused on a specific job, field, salary, and set of achievements that reflect your mission, your practical job search can begin. Bolles says that 1,400 letters and resumes are needed if you are going to play the numbers game of mass mailings.  Moreover, it is unlikely that you will find the very best jobs that way.  The reason is the unseen job market.  Applicants fill most jobs, and virtually all of the great entry-level jobs, through personal connections.  If you do not have personal connections, mass mailing of cold letters will not likely help you to get the best jobs.  Advertisements and headhunters won’t either because entry-level jobs are mostly filled through the unseen job market. The unseen job market is the web of personal connections through which employers fill most jobs.

If you are looking to work in a good job in a high end sector, you need to consider how to make the contacts that will give you a leg up. The answer, is informational interviewing. We have included networking within this section as we believe that this is a stepping stone to informataional interviewing.

Informational interviewing is a way to tap into the job market by establishing personal connections with professionals in your chosen sector. One way to informational interview is to start by identifying people who are already successful and well established within the field. Reviewing industry press, alumni lists or through visiting professional association websites.

Many membership and alumni lists are closed, so it a beneficial to join a professional association and go to their regular meetings. As a social environment these events are suited to networking. Here you can use a different method of informational interviewing:  setting up informational interviews at professional association meetings.

After you’ve identified people who are likely to have information and an ongoing network that can help you, introduce yourself and setup a schedule a time for an informal conversation. Plan your time carefully as you will only be able to manage a couple of informal interviews each day. Job search is a full-time job, of course remember to submit your resume to

It is important to mention  that you are not looking for a job.  The reason is that you are asking for an informational conversation, not a job interview.

Before attending the meeting, make a mental list of 10 or 15 questions, but when you actually go on the interview you are unlikely to need a list. Once you ask a few questions, the interviewee will open up, and the meeting will become a free-flowing conversation. Make sure that you have personal business cards and get used to offering your card when you first meet someone, this is a good way of establishing a connection without forcing your resume onto them. They will then have a reminder of who you are and how to contact you.

Having set the message that you are not looking for a job, you are more likely to be able to schedule the meeting as while they may not have a job opening, but they are interested in meeting an available applicant. Three reasons that they are likely to accept the meeting:

  1. because people hate to say no, they will see you for an informational interview but not for a job interview
  2. most people enjoy giving advice, and this is a great opportunity for someone to indulge themselves in that great pleasure
  3.  people know the value of networking even if they do not know about informational interviewing. They will be happy to participate because they may someday be able to benefit from the meeting

After the meeting, ask whether they know of anyone else who might be willing to meet with you. Also, tell them that you will keep them apprised of your progress.

The informational interview serves at least two purposes.

  1. you will learn a great deal about the field that you have chosen
  2. by meeting people in the field, you establish connections. Make sure that you have personal business cards and get used to offering your card when you first meet someone

A key point to remember is not to get discouraged, you are likely to get a “yes” from between five to thirty-five percent of meeting requests. Managing these rejections is a valuable skillset in its own and will strengthen your ability to cope with core business tasks such as such as sales and management meetings. Rejection is a necessary stepping stone to success, whether you aim to be an entrepreneur, a developer, and architect, or an author.

To read the original article, click here

Hints & Tips, Personal Development