The Top Tip for Engaging People

Two men talking during a networking session at a conference

A recent search that brought a reader to The Job Quest was “how to engage people.” It’s a pretty important skill to have for each part of the job hunt, and it really boils down to one thing:


You can be the most eloquent speaker or writer on the planet, but if folks don’t give a fig about the subject, they won’t be engaged — not even a little!

So let’s discuss how to make the magic happen!

In Writing

The cover letter and résumé give you the chance to show the hiring manager a bit of your personality and what s/he can expect from your performance. But don’t make it all about yourself.

Now I know, you may be scratching your head over that one. ‘How do I talk about myself but not make it about me?’ you might wonder. You talk about yourself in terms that relate to them. Enter their world and match your experiences with their needs.

When you think about it, it shouldn’t be that big of a stretch for you. Ideally, you are identifying target companies and positions that are interesting to you, as well. You should have skills and accomplishments that are in line with what they need. If you have a hard time coming up with something, is it really that good of a fit? Chances are it’s not.

Once you have identified your strengths and experiences that are of value to the company, frame them in terms of the language that is used in the job description and on the website. This wouldn’t be a word-for-word rehashing, just peppering your descriptions with language that mirrors how they talk about their values and issues. Doing this will make it even easier for the hiring manager to make the connections between them and what you’ve done.

In Person

Engaging people when interviewing and networking is somewhat similar to writing in that you frame what you are talking about in terms of topics that interest the interviewer/conversation partner. To do this well, you need to do some research.

Interviewing, while being nerve-wracking because you (presumably) want the job in question, does have an edge for being easier to prepare for because you are focusing on one company and its particular situation within the market. Networking presents a bigger challenge because there will be a variety of people there representing different interests.

While you may try to orchestrate things to talk with certain folks, you really don’t know who you will be talking to at the event. Because of that fact, you need to find out who is going to be there and spend a little time learning key facts about them. Jotting down a few notes to use as a study guide is a very beneficial way to prepare beforehand. Also, you should take a broader look at current events within your field to know what is occurring and to get a sense of how each of the different players fits in with those happenings.

How else do you effectively engage people?

Image courtesy of ObservePoint

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