Are you trying to find a job? In a technology-driven environment it is very tempting to limit your job finding efforts to applying online from the comfort of your own home for vacancies advertised on the many jobs boards and recruitment agencies out there. However, a very successful and often over-looked component of a successful job search involves networking.
In this blog post we look at several ways to improve your networking skills and ultimately help you find a job.
The ability to network successfully may come easily to some but may require patience and lots of practice for others.
Tips in Becoming a Networking Expert
- What are your goals? Your first step should be to firmly establish what you are looking to achieve from networking. Are you looking to expand your list of professional contacts in a specific niche sector? Are you looking to target certain employers or are you looking for a mentor to help guide you on your path to securing your next job opportunity? It may be one or several of these, if not all of them. By knowing exactly what you want to achieve you have taken the first step in become a networking expert.
- Look to your existing contacts first? Many people may immediately focus on establishing new contacts in order to progress their chances of finding a job but it is far better to look at your existing contacts first. Perhaps they may have changed career or received a new qualification since you spoke with them last. Maybe they are now working for a company you would like to work for or perhaps they know somebody who is working there and may be able to introduce you. It is amazing what opportunities will present themselves when you take the time to explore.
- Attend events: Sure, a lot of networking is now done online using platforms such as LinkedIn, however, there are still massive gains to be made by attending networking events such as jobs fairs, open days or Meet Up groups (many of which are focused on Business). Remember, often you only need to make a brief connection with somebody. You can then expand on the relationship in the following weeks and months through the use of technology such as email and social media.
- Build your type of network: Networking is not a numbers game; it is about establishing connections with companies and people you are interested in. Establish a matrix that matches who you know and where they work. You can further segment your matrix based on level of how well you know each contact. You can use your contact’s name when contacting businesses (providing you have their permission to do so). Remember, some employees get bonuses that reward referrals. This is win-win all round!
- Follow up: After attending an event make sure to do the follow up. Contact all people you spoke with at the event and thank them for taking the time to chat to you. This can be in the form of a simple email.
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