The age-old adage is true! “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Not everyone is a natural networker, but it makes sense to develop this skill. Even if this is a challenge, you need to try, or you could be left behind.
Networking is the process of building a database of contacts which you can call upon in the future. It is a continuous process and is especially useful when searching for ‘hidden jobs’.
Networking is important, especially if your job relies on making large numbers of new contacts in order to win new sales. You can use your network in two ways, to do things for you (such as introduce you to potential new clients or a new employer) or you can do things for others in you network (such as provide a service or make introductions for them).
It is important to try to balance what you get out and what you put in if you want others in your network to value your contributions and continue to do things which benefit you. Beginning to build your network can often be the hardest part, particularly if you do not know much about networking. Below you will find some basic networking tips to get you started.
Some people (typically business owners or sales reps) will have large networks, whilst others may have only a limited range of contacts. Social networking sites such as Facebook have significantly increased the popularity of ‘networking’ in recent years. For most networks will only be really useful at certain times (such as when job-hunting) but it still makes sense to maintain your network.
10 Tips For Successful Networking
1. Start small, try talking to people you see everyday.
Try to talk about topics such as the weather or sport. Build your confidence slowly. Then you should be more prepared to network when it really matters.
2. Get involved in what is going on in the world.
Arm yourself with current and remarkable information. This allows you to talk about a broad range of subjects. Keep your mind active; as this will help you to appear more knowledgeable and interesting.
3. Be a fantastic advertisement for yourself.
Get a haircut, buy a new suit, polish your whole image not just your shoes! First impressions count. Make sure that the impression that you make is a favourable impression.
4. Expand your circle
Think of networking as not just a way of finding hidden job opportunities. You will also increase your self-confidence, make yourself more marketable and you could even make some new friends.
5. Talk to everyone you meet
Tell anyone you can, (apart from, maybe, your current boss), that you are looking for a job. There are many ways of communicating this, depending on your audience.
6. Update your CV in preparation
It would be embarrassing if you were offered an interview for your dream job and were not able to produce a CV to show your prospective employer. Get it ready or you could miss an opportunity.
7. Be prepared
You may want to carry a copy of your CV and a Covering Letter with you on a USB or ensure you have it stored in the cloud so you can access it form anywhere.
8. Consider updating your skills
You may need to retrain or add to your existing skills. If you require or want further training, you could consider going back to college or adult education classes. There are many subjects to choose from.
9. Check your social media presence
Make sure you know how the privacy settings work in your social media and activate those that are appropriate for you.