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How to Network Your Way into Consulting Recruitment Interviews

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Published:
October 26, 2021
Reading Time:
8 minutes
Gizela
Gizela has almost two decades of experience within the Digital sphere and eagerly awaits the day she can be cloned so she can finally get everything on her daily to-do list done

Any business owner knows how important networking is. Having the right connection with the right person can make or break an organisation. The problem is that many consultants think that networking is not as important for them since they are the lone rangers of the business world. But this is completely untrue. Networking for consulting is invaluable. In fact, recent studies show that at least 70% of a business client base can be traced back to networking.

But networking looks a lot different today than in the 1980’s and things like a global pandemic also changed the networking landscape forever. So how does one go about networking for consulting?

Birds of a feather

The best way to get connected with the right people is through existing connections whether friends, family or other business contacts. The old adage rings true: birds of a feather flock together… or make for great business partnerships.

Get Social

No, we’re not talking about getting a drink somewhere. We’re talking about good ol’ fashioned social media. But when it comes to professional networking you’re definitely not going to be reaching out to people on Tik Tok. The best social media platform to network on is LinkedIn. Connect, chat, offer them valuable interactions and then move the conversation to a coffee shop near you (or Zoom call if distance calls for it).

Attend events

Yes, we might’ve been catapulted into the digital age (especially after a global pandemic), but many people still prefer personal and physical interaction to a message or a mail. When networking for job opportunities, look out for business networking events in your area. Some areas even have regional business networking chapters that one can join where they all make use of and refer to each other’s businesses and services.

It’s not a job application

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that, although you are indirectly networking for job opportunities, individuals treat networking for consulting as a job application or consulting interview. When meeting, messaging or mailing people, don’t just send them a standard messaging template or start rambling at an event telling them everything you can do for them and asking them to contact you if they need your services.

Networking is all about real connections and building relationships with the right people so that if the opportunity comes up, you’ll be the first person that pops into their head. Think about: would you leave your baby with a stranger or someone you already know and trust?

“Networking is by far the most important aspect of business school. The classroom is a distant second.” Jay Devivo

A resume in sheep’s clothing

A resume can be the perfect “in'' without officially applying for a job. Whether in social media groups, online forums or via email, asking feedback on your resume is the perfect way to get your name and experience out there. Yes, you might actually find that your resume needs a little tweaking. But in general, most will take a look at it and suddenly realise that either you’re exactly what they’ve been looking for or they know someone who is looking for an individual with your skills and experience.

Never do all the talking

When networking people always feel like they should be the one’s talking, driving conversation and giving the perfect first impression. But the real secret to successful relationships is listening. Your first go-to should be to be inquisitive. Ask them a question about themselves (without it feeling like you’re the one conducting a consulting interview), and simply listen and respond accordingly.

Studies have proven that the majority of us spend a mere 55% of our day actually listening to people. Yet listening is one of the most valued and appreciated traits in all relationships, whether romantic, familial or business. So, if you know you’re guilty of being a bit of a chatty Cathy, it’s time to start practising some verbal restraint.

The Successful Consultant

When we are talking to someone at a business or networking event, it is natural to want them to think only the best of you. But randomly telling people about all of your successes is just going to come across as arrogant and boastful. Patience is a virtue. Wait ‘till the conversation turns to a specific topic where your advice or previous success story can be helpful and valuable. There’s a thin line between people thinking you’re a walking talking self-promoter vs a person they appreciate is willing to share their knowledge with their network.

networking for consulting, How to Network Your Way into Consulting Recruitment Interviews

Don’t burn those bridges

If you are networking for consulting and meet someone who maybe owns a big consulting firm that has many consultants working for them, don’t just dismiss them outright either as competition or because you’re not networking for job opportunities that come with team building retreat benefits. Many big firms reach points where they simply do not have the capacity to service the large demand of clientele.

Most of these firms then opt to hire an independent consultant on a contract or freelance basis. So even though you might not have any desire to turn the networking event into a consulting interview for a permanent position, it doesn’t mean that that specific business relationship might not be beneficial to you in the long run. When networking it’s important to keep an open mind.

Follow-up and check-in

There’s a simple mistake many make when it comes to business relationships: they make the connection and then only reach out when they need something from that contact. A business relationship is fundamentally like any other relationship. You need to check-in, stay in touch and when something is happening on the other side and your advice is needed “off the record” then follow up to see what happened and whether the advice was useful. This is how you build a long-term sustainable and valuable business relationship that is mutually beneficial.

In the upcoming months many businesses and professionals will be looking to renew contracts or hire new consultants for the upcoming year. To give yourself the best chance to stand out from the crowd, networking is definitely the way to go – as long as you do it the right way. If you follow our helpful networking tips you’re already well on your way to kicking some consulting butt. For many more helpful resources or specialized courses to give you the consulting edge you need, click on one of these:

Valuable Info for Consultants

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