Networking is a process which fosters the exchange of useful information and ideas among individuals or groups that share a common interest. As a professional in a specified field, one should identify contacts to build mutually beneficial relationships and make follow-ups to nurture the potential for continued engagement and interaction.
In recent times, the emergence of numerous professional association meetings that serve as great networking forums bringing together professionals.
Studies have also shown that a job seeker who is referred is more likely to be hired as compared to someone who applies for a position without a referral. Networking is an essential tool in landing a new opportunity.
A great place to start is attending such networking forums.
Thoughtful networking provides a focused way to talk to people about your job search. Done right, it can help one land a job or attain useful leads.
One should take a keynote of the following
- Make a good first impression
For instance when attending a networking forum such as a cocktail. A good first impression can set you up for success; this translates in how you present yourself regarding dress code and personal grooming. Make sure you are presentable.
In addition, conduct personal research on the people attending and take note of those that you should speak to. Also, have business cards ready to issue them out as you also collect relevant business cards of persons you can talk to later. It is paramount to build a good reputation and ensure that you’re memorable so that people keep you in mind for appropriate roles and opportunities that may come up.
- Be ready to grab opportunities
As you interact, let people know that you’re in search of a new role and the kind of task that you may be interested in careful not to come out as too needy. If an opportunity were to arise one ought to be ready to grab ensuring you have an elevator pitch perfected. If possible have your resume ready on your email that you can forward.
- Open to advice and new ideas
‘Knowledge is key’ when meeting people be ready to learn. One can be surprised at how much you can acquire from a short conversation with others in your field or those who are more experienced within your role or in roles that you wish to step into. Networking forums don’t work well with know -it -all attitude.
Make sure to make follow-ups via email, phone call, message or relevant platform. Ensure to send over any information you had promised as you also follow up with those who had promised to send you information and were yet to send.
- Do not overlook anyone
People often tend to assume the only people who can assist are those in the same field or have high-powered executive careers. Sometimes the best networking contacts are usually from people we least expect. For example; bartenders, waiters, receptionists probably have good connections that may be of great assistance since they spend their professional lives meeting a lot of different people of different professions and often have information of vacancies or new start-ups.
- Become a good listener
Often when looking for an opportunity one feels the pressure of dominating conversations and weighing in on issues to stand out. On the flipside, you may be surprised by how much people appreciate someone who listens well and remembers what they say. Most people appreciate the chance or opportunity to talk about themselves and are always on the lookout for a listening ear. Be the person who keeps listening more than talk, and you may be that much closer to networking success.
Also, don’t let rejection discourage you as it is just a part of the game. Even if you get rejects within the first few attempts whether people fail to return your phone calls, or everyone seems to ignore your e-mails stick to it.
Be persistent in pursuing contacts you need to help manage your career, and be flexible enough to shift your approach when what you’re doing isn’t working and probably taking longer than expected. It is necessary to review your strategy and modify the action plan, and you’ll grow a useful professional network in no time.
Remember when it comes to networking on should focus on building relationships. It should be a give-and-take process and not a technique for getting a job or favour.