In today’s world of information overload, in a job search **who** you know can be just as important as **what** you know!
Many people believe that networking during a job search means calling everyone and asking them for a job. People associate networking with being pushy and overbearing. Some people tend to hide away from networking because they don’t want to be labeled as this type of person. Networking is a two way street, it is a way of getting to know someone better and of finding ways they might be able to help you and how you can help them in return.
To become a successful networker, you should follow the belief that everyone has something to learn and gain. Networking is an ongoing process that requires persistence, attention, organization and good will.
Demonstrate your value to potential clients and employers with these simple successful networking tips:
1. Meet People through Referrals
2. Leverage Social Media
3. Don’t Ask For A Job
4. Don’t Take Up Too Much Time
5. Let the Other Person Speak
6. Find a Reason to Follow Up
7. Always Remember to Say Thank You
The best and easiest way to meet people is through referrals. Being connected through people you already know will very likely help you receive a warm welcome and introduction to the person you wanted to meet or speak with. This is similar in effect as LinkedIn’s online introduction tool, or that from joining the right circle at an event with somebody you know.
Social media is an effective way to get to know important contacts better and without the pressure of a face-to-face (F2F) meeting that you may not be prepared for. Seek out like-minded or key contacts you would like to know better within LinkedIn, Twitter and more. Try commenting on a link they post or responding to a comment they make … start a conversation with them and offer them value in return. When you have the opportunity to meet them in person, it will be easier to reference previous communications with them.
Networking is **not** asking everyone you know or meet for a job! In fact, when you network you should never directly ask someone for a job. You **should** ask people for information that will assist you in your job search or becoming more informed about an organization. Your main networking goal should be to build a relationship and establish rapport, so when a potential opportunity may arise in the future, your contact may be willing to refer you.
Before you start networking, be sure to have an agenda and keep the meeting on track. Time is money and people are never happy with someone that takes up too much of their time. By planning out your meeting ahead of time, you establish your professionalism, you gain credibility and cover all the critical topics you wanted to cover. .
When networking, be sure that you don’t do all the talking. The key to being a good conversationalist is being a good listener. If you have asked another person for advice or their opinion, make sure they have the opportunity to offer it and to tell you. Or perhaps they are looking for you to add value to their work. If you do all the talking, the person may feel you are uninterested in what they have to say and unsure what action to take with the information you have supplied.
If you want to establish rapport with another person, create a reason to keep the relationship going. If you read an article that adds to a discussion you had during a networking meeting, save it and send it to them with a brief note on what you found interesting and how you think it could benefit them. Try and find at least two or three opportunities yearly to reconnect with the members of your network.
Building a network is about creating a genuine, caring relationship. Thank your connection for the time and information they have given and see if you can help them in any way. Share any knowledge or connections you feel would be useful for them. Keep notes on what you learn about your contacts so your future correspondence can have a personalized touch.
These few basic rules will help you succeed at networking. Remember, the goal at networking is to build relationships and networks. A good, reliable network can result in new customers, partners and opportunities. Get out there and meet people, but ensure you are following these networking tips to make sure you are meeting people in the right way.
(written by: Whitney)