If you’re wondering what a professional networking document is, you’re probably not alone. Unlike a resume or professional bio, this is a different kind of marketing document for job search networking purposes.
While the top part of your professional networking document resembles a resume, the bottom part explains to those with whom you’re networking what you’re pursuing, including:
- Types of companies
- Specific target companies
The bottom part is perhaps the most important part of your professional networking document.
Where and how to utilize a professional networking doc
Use your professional networking document in a networking meeting or informational interview, in which you would slide it across the table to the person who has graciously agreed to meet with you to provide advice and possible leads.
Just as the meeting is nearing the end, ask if the person wouldn’t mind taking a glance at your professional networking document. Watch as she takes a look at your company target list. You’ll see her study it and hopefully mention that she knows people at some of the companies. This is the start of something good.
If you are a member of a buddy group, you can provide the other networkers a copy of your professional networking document. A buddy group is a better place to disseminate your document than to a larger, formal networking group, where participants wouldn’t appreciate carrying a sheet of paper around.
You can also send it to your network in an email. By doing this, you’ll cover more ground, but it’s not the ideal way of distributing your professional networking document. Your goal is to get in front of people with your document in hand so you can discuss it with them.
How to write a professional networking document
The top part of your professional networking document, as I mentioned above, resembles your resume. It is not your entire resume, as the document should not exceed one page.
Only include the juiciest information on your resume.
Following are the sections for a Sr. Director of New Business Development’s professional networking document that would follow their name and contact information.
Sr. Director New Business Development
Identify new global business development opportunities that garner growth and consistent revenue increases of 18% annually. Direct marketing strategy, creating new brand and product category offerings within their respective portfolios. Recognize industry trends leading to profitability & added value.
New Business Development | Major Account Management |
Marketing | Negotiations | Sales
ABC, Anywhere, USA
Sr. Director, New Business Development/Marketing/Sales (2009 – 2019)
Directed a $200MM company that produced office management software primarily supporting Energy and Education. Emphasis on overall operations of five departments, continuous improvement, and revenue generation. Major highlights include:
- Initiated the design of three brands that dominated the US Northeast region and gained prominence in Western Europe. These brands remain the most popular for ABC.
- Trained inside sales and distributor sales staff in all aspects of selling, sales input and follow-through; leading to 80% increased sales for ABC’s distributors.
- Implemented cross-sales plans between major education companies; consistent annual sales growth of an average of 18%.
Babson College, Waltham, MA
Master’s of Science, Business Administration
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Bachelor’s of Science, Marketing, Minor in Communications
The bottom part is perhaps the most important part of your professional networking document because it gives your networking partners a sense of your goals. Someone who receives your document will have a better sense of how to help you than if you were to simply express your goals through conversation.
New Business Development | Sales/Marketing
TYPE OF ORGANIZATIONS
Entrepreneurial, innovative | mid- to large-sized organization | education or energy | within the USA
Education: American Public Education | Archipelago Learning | Capella Education Company | Bridgepoint Education | Franklin Covey Company | Rosetta Stone
Energy: 1366 Tech | Achates Power | Aemetis | AltaRock Energy | Aquion Energy | BrightSource Energy | Clean Energy Collective
The Target Companies section of your professional networking document is likely the most difficult to devise, yet it is the most valuable piece of the document. As mentioned above, this will hopefully spark an idea in people who receive your document.
Imagine someone saying, “AltaRock Energy. I know the VP of Marketing there. Here name is RoseAnn Johnston. A great woman. Give me a minute to get her contact information. Also Clean Energy Collective. I know the CEO there. We play golf….”
Your professional networking document can greatly enhance your networking efforts if written effectively and used in the proper circumstances. This document is not confined to executive-level job seekers; managers and individual contributors can also benefit from it.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center. Job seekers and staff look to him for advice on the job search. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market.