8 Steps to Launch and Leverage a Personal Networking Campaign

Whether you are skilled at meeting other professionals and making connections or are completely mortified by the networking online or in real life, there’s no better time than the present to dig into networking. Networking isn’t just for people already employed, or entrepreneurs, but rather building and maintaining valuable relationships is for anyone and everyone.

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

One thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has helped make clear is that no job is secure, and no company is immune to experiencing economic hard times. This means, every worker should consider themselves an independent agent, ready to move and be agile as the economy and work landscape continues to make changes rapidly to keep pace with the world.

One great way to jump into networking is to launch and leverage your own networking campaign designed to help you advance your job search or career goals. But, what is a personal networking campaign and how do you do it? Outlined below are the key elements of a campaign, as well as a few examples to help you get started.

Personal Networking Campaign Elements

Full transparency here, I’m a marketing professional and educator by trade, so these strategies are not going to be the types of strategies that a traditional job coach or job search professional will offer. From my perspective — and I hope from yours — you see the value in applying a marketing approach to job search as a method to help you stand out among the sea of job seekers and workers. That being said, campaigns are really the domain of marketing and advertising.

These key elements of a marketing campaign, can be applied to a personal networking campaign to help you engage your network and accelerate relationship building with new contacts.

  1. Identify your Target Audience. One of the most important elements of any campaign is your target audience. Who are the people you want to engage? As a job seeker, it may be obvious to engage hiring managers and recruiters, but those two groups function more as gatekeepers than decision-makers. So, getting clear about who you want to connect with is your most important tasks in your personal networking campaign.
  2. Develop Talking Points. Equally important to the target audience are your talking points — or what do you want to say. When you begin to reach out and promote your personal networking campaign, you will want to ground the effort in something and have some talking points around that. If you are a job seeker, deprioritize talking about your status looking for a job. Rather consider talking points that focus on your previous work experience, what you’re currently engaged in professionally, and what your looking to do next. Get your elevator pitch in order, and do you research to be prepared with a few questions to help you get to know better your contact.
  3. Decide on a Timeline. You want to have a beginning (Identify audience, Talking points, Timeline and Success goals), middle (Launch, Promote, Execute, Reflect and Refine) and end (Reflect and Identify Next Steps) to your campaign. Once you determine what the beginning, middle and end looks like you’ll have a strong outline of how your campaign will progress and put some boundaries around your effort.
  4. Decide What Success Looks Like. To help guide your efforts and ensure your networking effort is going to help you yield the results you want — get clear and write down what success looks like. As a job seeker, you may be thinking success looks like a job offer — but I would encourage you to take a more granular approach, and consider these additional measurements of success such as: securing an interview with a hiring manager; getting the inside track on a job or employment opportunity soon to open up; warm introductions to others; or uncovering part-time or contract work opportunities. Like the hiring process, job searching includes a number of different steps, so be sure to consider some of these steps which can effectively lead to successfully landing a new job or gig.
  5. Launch and Promote Among Your Network. Once you have worked through thru steps 1–4 or the beginning of your campaign, you’re ready to launch. For a lot of people this can be the scariest part because you are now putting yourself out there. And it is also necessary in order to really start uncovering job opportunities and work engagements that are waiting for you. So, choose a channel or two to tell people what you’re doing and how to connect with you. Promote your campaign on your social channels as a post or article, send out emails to a targeted list of people you want to connect with. Utilize a calendar app to make scheduling with you as easy as possible. You really never know who might come out of the woodwork.
  6. Execute. This is the fun part or scary part of the whole enterprise. Meet with the people. Have the conversations. Build the relationships. Always ask how you can help them. And just be you. When possible, I recommend. face-to-face because conversations can flow easier, obviously that’s not possible at the moment, so try video calls first if possible.
  7. Reflect and Refine. About halfway through your campaign, reflect on what’s happening. Who is reaching out to you? Who are you reaching out to? Are your talking points helping you or derailing conversations? Are. you clear about what you’re looking to accomplish? Do you have the right target audience identified to meet your job search or career advancement goals? These are all things that you can reflect on to help you refine your campaign and achieve greater success.
  8. Identify Next Steps. So, as you’re moving through your personal networking campaign, be sure to identify and track any next steps you have for yourself, or any that your contacts have indicated they may do for you so you are sure to follow up and follow through. If you said you’d make an intro, make the intro. If you indicated you would be a beta user for someone or take their survey or review their blog, or whatever, just be sure to do it. If someone said contact them in 6 weeks about a job opp, add that to your calendar so it doesn’t fall off your radar. These are elements that are part of your relationship building process that are vital to developing trust and confidence with your contacts. Don’t skip your follow ups and next steps.

In early 2020, I launched my own personal networking campaign. To be fair, this wasn’t my original idea, I’ve seen others do it and heard of their success in so I decided to give it a try. Here are some of the articles I put out on LinkedIn to launch the effort and share out during the process.

How I’m Growing My Network in 2020, and a Week 1 Reflection.

How to Network Your Way to New Opportunities.

How to Build Trust: A Few Networking Lessons Learned.

What Happened When I Met with 30 People in 30 Days.

Dr. Erika Pryor is a creative technologist, diversity and inclusion advocate, and startup cheerleader. She is founder and chief community builder of EPiC Career Network, a career advancement community empowering professionals to find and do their most authentic work. Sign up here to join an online community offering relevant job search and career advancement support.

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Erika Pryor

Erika Pryor

Founder, CMO @ EPiC Creative + Design, Culturally-informed Storyteller, Startup Evangelist, Community Builder. Dr. Mom.