In short, networking is about getting to know people who can help you develop your prospects for your career.
You don’t have to be the most outgoing person in the world to network effectively.
Take one step at a time. Start with people you know, at work and in your private life. Keep your ears open for information that may be in your favor.
What are the benefits of networking?
Some good vacancies never end up on recruitment sites or in the advertising section of the newspaper. These services are added through word of mouth, and the higher the position, the more often it is how it works.
Although the job is advertised, it helps to know someone within the new organization who can give you tips. It may even be the same person interviewing you which can make it a less stressful experience.
As in all other forms of social contexts, certain rules must be followed:
You never get a second chance to make a first impression – be it a meeting, over the phone or email.
Don’t ask for a job directly – networking doesn’t really work as a job fair, it’s an opportunity to gather useful information.
Give and take – networking works both ways, nothing is free.
Pre-work – do research on the ones you will meet and always follow up good threads, otherwise they will disappear.
Think sideways – try to expand your network outward, beyond the comfort zone or where you usually work.
Patience is a virtue – networking is a long-term project, don’t expect to get a job at your first meeting.
Build your network
Even if you are new to the game, you may already have many good contacts that you have not thought of before:
Old classmates from elementary school, high school and higher education
- Removing relatives
- Your friends’ families
- Your doctor, lawyer or accountant
- Former colleagues or managers
Keep track of who you meet and what you have been talking about – there is no point in building networks and making contacts that you then forget.
Also, keep in touch even if you are not looking for anything special at the moment. You do not want to be the person who only hears when you need a service.
Networking at events and conferences is a great way to build networks if you don’t know where to start.
Make sure you know why you are there and what you want to get out of it. Also, bring with you some copies of your resume or some business cards to distribute to important contacts you meet.
Do not wait to talk to people in your industry – even if you are happy with your service at the moment and sit safely, you never know what is waiting around the corner.
If you haven’t gotten used to the idea yet, networking can feel daunting; as if there is just something for really confident people who still get all the best jobs. But that’s not about it, people are used to networking to advance in their careers.
The Internet has made it practical for everyone to build networks, and there are many forums and networking sites that make it possible to share and discuss their opinions and knowledge.
As long as you can separate your privacy from your online work life, this is a great way to pick up what’s happening in your particular industry. But it can never fully replace the personal contact you get when you are out and meet people eye to eye.