The best way to find a job is through the people you know. If you want to establish some new relationships, networking is one way to do this. Some people think of networking as going to lots of meetings. That is only one piece of networking but not the total picture. By attending meetings you do get to meet a lot of possible connections at one time. The next step in networking is to find people with whom you can build a mutually beneficial relationship. Those are people you will want to reconnect with to explore how you can work together in a way that is beneficial for both of you.
1. Networking is about building trust. People can only learn to trust you with multiple exposures. Offering them something of value and deliver on it is a way to begin to establish trust. As you talk to people listen carefully to what they need and want and then help them get it by introducing them to someone who could be helpful or sending them an article, a website, or a book that is on a topic the addresses that need.
2. Find groups that cater to your industry or profession and take an active role. Join committees and/or volunteer for positions. Let people see and hear you in action.
3. If you are a reluctant networker, resist the urge to give up after one meeting. ("Networking never works for me.")Keep at it and watch others who seem successful at it. If you are open to learning how to do it well then over time it does get easier.
4. Social networking is networking too. Make an effort to move your online connections from email to phone and/or face to face if possible.
5. Networking can serve many purposes. You have a chance to meet those who could hire you or know someone who could hire you. You can meet someone also looking for work who knows about job openings you have not heard about. You also get to interact with others. This is particularly important when you are out of work and have no officemates for camaraderie. Many of my clients tell me they feel depressed when they are isolated for long periods of time. Networking can be an antidote for feeling isolated.
6. At the end of an event say good bye to those you have met over the course of the time you spent. Be sure to call each person by name if you remember it. Work on remembering names. It is a wonderful skill to have and makes you memorable.
7. Don't excuse yourself from networking in order to stay at home and apply for more jobs online. Most jobs are found through face to face connections. Make time in your day for networking to make those connections.
8. If you are uncomfortable going to a networking group for the first time, try going with a friend. Be careful however not to spend all your time talking only to your friend. Have a plan to meet people yourselves and come back together occasionally. Make a game of it. You might target the type of person you want to meet and then plan to introduce your friend later to your targets. You do the same for your friend.
9. As you talk to people in a networking group look for opportunities to introduce someone you just met to someone you are talking to. The reasons to make the introduction could be that they are in complimentary fields or because you know the person you are talking to will benefit from something the other person has or knows.
10. When you are alone and enter a crowded room for networking look for people standing alone. They will be happy to talk to you and you don't have to interrupt an ongoing conversation. Be open to others joining you so that you spend the whole time talking to the same person during the networking event.
Alvah Parker is a Practice Advisor for Attorneys and a Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker's Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine with career and business information. Subscribe now to these free monthly publications at her website free monthly publications and receive a free values assessment along with your subscription.