The one skill every job seeker needs is one that most people don’t seem to possess:
Being a good listener
Have you noticed that listening well and being truly engaged in a conversation seem to be lost arts these days?
Whether in a professional or social setting, so many people mark time while pretending to listen, anxiously fidgeting until they can dominate the conversation again. This holds true for both in-person and virtual meetings.
Or they interrupt people and start spieling their own story, because they think it’s more important.
- It’s become worse because of social media, with people’s heightened impatience and need for speed.
- We want things to happen quickly, and then we quickly lose interest.
- More and more people display narcissistic tendencies, and need to focus everything on themselves.
Networking that benefits all parties is all about helping, sharing, finding common ground, and being a good listener.
Being a good listener can give you the competitive advantage.
Because good listening skills are so rare, if you demonstrate a keen ear, you’re more likely to be an attractive candidate . . . even if you’re less qualified than your competitors.
Listening well, of course, keeps you open to – and better able to – absorb pertinent information.
Successful job search relies heavily on strong networking.
Successful networking relies heavily on a willingness to patiently listen.
Practice “give to get” networking – slowly and gently create evangelists for you and your personal brand.
Being a good listener is a little-used, powerful way to build your personal brand, attract people to you and engage them to want to help you, because:
- Most people love to talk about themselves and be heard with intent interest by the listener.
- Most people are not being listened to, but crave it.
- Most people, especially at networking events, have their own agenda and are not good listeners.
- Listening well is a rare personal attribute – one that is greatly valued and can differentiate you from your competitors.
- Being listened to makes people feel valued and good about themselves.
People remember those who give them that boost by being truly interested in what they have to say. They’re much more inclined to keep that good listener top of mind when they hear of an opportunity that may be a good fit for them.
Be a good listener in these important ways:
- Pay attention to ways you may be able to help others.
- Keep your ear to the ground for others in your network to determine if this person you’re talking to now could be the answer to their organizational or personal needs.
- Ask questions and listen to challenges facing this person’s organization. Maybe you’re the answer to their problems. If you’re not, you may know someone who is.
- Listen carefully to determine if the person you’re talking with is someone you want to continue to network with, or if she/he is an energy-drainer. After all, it’s nearly impossible, and quite exhausting, to be a sounding board for everyone who needs your ear. And, since good listeners are rare, people will try to take advantage of you.
Good listeners set themselves up for reciprocity in networking. Being an intent listener may even make you more memorable than the powerful personal brand message you express when networking.