There’s no doubt about it – networking is vital to any job search. If the idea of networking makes you uneasy, know that you are in good company.
I cannot tell you just how many job seekers cringe at the thought of networking, and with good reason! Talking about yourself is awkward, let alone when you are doing so with a big ask in mind. The thing is, the idea of networking is overblown (but not overrated). As is the “big ask.”
Let me explain.
Networking is essential, but the pressures that are associated with networking are not.
Forget the big ask, and therefore, the pressure.
Sure, you may view a specific individual as a means to an end (in other words, a means to employment), but that shouldn’t be the primary goal. While there may very well be an opportunity to ask for something, networking is nothing more than making connections with people. It’s that simple.
Just think, you make connections every day: at the grocery store, at a child’s birthday party, or hanging around the dog park with your pups. Networking is making those connections and using them in a professional capacity. Plus, you can network effectively in person AND online!
1.) View every connection made as an opportunity to network.
Share what it is you do and what it is you are looking to do. There is no harm in putting feelers out there, even in a non-formal setting. So, the next time you have a conversation with someone of interest, let them know what you do for a living. And listen when they share what it is they do as well. You may be able to help each other.
2.) Attend formal conferences or networking events (in person or online).
Conferences and networking events are easy places to network since everyone has the same objective: expanding a business and achieving goals. You can be a part of that! Whether the event is held virtually or in person, take some time to attend these professional events, getting to know peers and industry leaders. No connection made is wasted, so speak with everyone you can and have your “pitch” in mind.
3.) Use social media to the fullest potential.
Social media platforms, especially professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn, are an excellent tool to expand your network. You can reach out to recruiters and hiring managers from any company or industry, join various industry-specific groups, and follow specific companies of interest. Best of all, if your profile is optimized, you will show up in numerous recruiter searches, increasing your chance of employment.
Whether you are new to the job search scene or have been at this for quite some time (with little success), my comprehensive program here at the Job Search School can help. Learn how to find positions that fit your skills, optimize your LinkedIn and resume, connect with key professionals, nail your interview, negotiate your salary, and more!
Sign up for my FREE Job Search Masterclass today!