It’s easy for networking to become an overlooked side of the job hunt. While it’s a great buzzword to throw out there if you’re giving yourself or a friend a ‘get a new job’ pep talk, it’s often something many people don’t actually address properly – which is a shame because it can be a very useful tool to getting a new job or developing your career.
Whether it’s not knowing where to go to network, or simply not knowing how to network, here are some tips to help you.
1. Attend, attend, attend
Every week, hundreds of events take place to help bring people together. They range from formal events (business expos, conferences, job fairs) to informal get togethers (coffee mornings, lunch buffets, evening drinks), and each thrive off of face-to-face interaction.
The idea is for people to meet, greet and talk. Search the internet for a suitable event – but think about it: if you’re a job seeker, you don’t want to attend a B2B conference. Look for job and recruitment fairs or coffee mornings that discuss hot topics.
By getting yourself out there, more people can get to know your face and what you’re capable of.
2. Be confident and talk
It’s one thing being at an event, but it’s another participating. Speaking to people is essential to successful networking and so you need to be confident approaching and talking to new faces.
Focus on your strengths – what you’re good at, what you’ve done – and paint a positive picture of what you can do.
3. Give out and collect contact details
You never know when you might need someone and so always trade contact details with those that you meet. Business cards are the prime way to do this.
Also, don’t be shy. At said events, people expect to make new connections and so will engage in conversation with the intentions of taking something away – be it a phone number, email or LinkedIn connection request.
4. Stay in touch
These days it’s easier than ever to contact people directly or have them see what you’re up to. You don’t have to directly email someone to keep them up to date with what you’re up to – that’s what things like Facebook status’ and Twitter tweets are for.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to drop a particularly good contact an email once in a while to see how they are and if they know of any worthy opportunities for you. You’ll be surprised at just how friendly people can be.
When networking, it’s important to keep a profile with those you meet. If you fail to do this, you’ll risk being forgotten about.
Networking is a brilliant way to help career progression, with the keep being to have an extensive list of connections that you can contact moving forward.