Networking seems to be one of those things that a lot of folks find difficult to do. And by a lot of folks I mean... me. I'm folks. Yes even as a *insert multiple job titles of things I do here* I, too, find it challenging sometimes to "network". Especially with everything online now and via text, and does anyone check email anymore???
But lo and behold I tapped into something today that I felt compelled to share: I had a video conversation with a total stranger for networking purposes! So how did I do this? WHY did I do this? I'm sure my introverted friends may shudder at the thought!
One of my job titles is Career Development & Learning Leader for a large non profit. It's me and my mighty team of 2 responsibility to help get learning opportunities across the organization based on needs. This includes learning platforms, live training, career development, and more. My husband started at his company about a year ago and literally loves it! Because he knows my line of work, he frequently shares with me the required training he has to complete, what his manager training and development opportunities are, and all the resources at their disposal at ABC Big Company!
I really wanted a sense of what tools and templates were in use and how managers interact with their broader L&D team. I asked him if he knew someone in his ERG (Employee Resource Group) that was in the L&D division. He followed up and was able to connect me with one of their Project Managers.
I went into this as an informational interview. I responded to her emails immediately, and set up the zoom room. So here are the questions that I asked and I did think of them in advance!
How did you come into the role and the organization?
What's the structure of your L&D division?
What skills do they look for, in employees in external facing learning roles?
How do you measure the ROI (return on investment) for the learning programs you bring in from outside vendors?
What type of data do you use or have access to internally that helps determine a certain skill, learning or training that is needed?
What's the most exciting thing you worked on since you've been there?
That's it! This was a full 30 minute conversation and it resulted in me getting more information on how to do my job a bit better, a new LinkedIn connection, and a connection into a larger organization that has phenomenal resources!
I've learned that people really do like to talk about what they do and for the most part truly are willing to be a connection and partner with you. It's about making a genuine connection and nurturing the relationship. Not just asking for a job. So tell me: how do you network? What are your best tips? Do you have examples of successful networking opportunities? Let's chat!
*Ayanna E. Jackson is an HR Professional and Career Coach with 20 years experience in corporate America and non profit workspaces. She's worked consistently throughout her career in coaching managers, interviewing and hiring candidates, negotiating salaries, helping people get promoted, and writing kick butt resumes and cover letters that get results. You can find her at ayannaejackson.com, Twitter and Instagram or running around Metro DC with her family, mini goldendoodle, and a book!