Sometimes the best job offers are only a few handshakes away or a couple degrees of separation from your inner circle. It’s important to approach networking for a new job with a good strategy. This article gives some great tips for networking as a part of your job search.
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The biggest mistake people make in networking is focusing on what they want rather than listening to others.
Networking with other professionals in your industry can be beneficial when you’re looking for work. You might meet the hiring manager for a company and hear about an unadvertised position, find a new consulting opportunity, or get some insight into the best way to apply for a position.
The biggest mistake people make in networking is focusing on what they want, rather than on connecting and listening to others. If you want your networking to be truly effective, the goal should be focused on helping others and making memorable connections.
The Importance of Professional Networking
Networking takes work and practice. Here are a few tips to help you make your networking truly successful.
1. Give as much as you get.
When you think, “how can this person help me,” you’ll be disappointed. However, when you are offering help to others, you’ll find them far more open to the idea of helping you down the road. Forming relationships built on trust will help you be the person your contacts think of the next time they can find a way to help you.
Have a stack of business cards ready to hand out. You don’t want to be the person who works the room racing to collect and hand out your cards, though. Save the exchange for when you have a conversation. People can sense greedy networkers who are there to work the room and add as many contacts to their mailing list without permission. Being genuine sells, so be prepared to ask plenty of questions of others, and keep in mind that you’re trying to help them first, not the other way around.
4. Stay positive.
It’s easy to let yourself get down and lose self esteem when you’ve been rejected in the job hunt, and this can affect everything, including your networking skills. Staying positive makes you approachable and memorable. Consider each networking event an opportunity to learn something new or meet someone interesting.
5. Take full advantage of opportunities.
With networking opportunities abounding, make sure you actually attend them. Networking only works if you put yourself out there and to start talking to people. Let your guard down and be aware of what your body language communicates.
Honing your networking skills will serve you well throughout your professional career, especially when job searching. Networking takes time and relationships won’t develop overnight, so be patient. By making a point of consistently meeting new people, you will learn from others about your industry, profession, and the companies you’re interested in. You might even find your perfect job you would have never known about otherwise!
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