In the hyper-competitive job market of the present, no candidate can afford not to make a serious effort at networking. Opportunities come from unexpected places, and the impression you make while networking could be what gives you the advantage over other candidates. Even if you are shy, gainfully employed, or convinced that the benefits of networking are overstated, you owe it to yourself to make some kind of effort. Use these tips to get the most out of the process.
The goal of networking is to project your real self so that potential employers and connections can get an honest sense of your character and your abilities. Never lie, and try to be yourself within the boundaries of professionalism.
Networking works best when it is a focused process, so determine specific goals, and work towards them. Are you pursuing a new career path, trying to get your foot in the door at a specific company, or hoping to attract a top candidate to your company?
Volunteering with a networking group is a great way to stay involved, stay visible, demonstrate your professional commitment, and form deeper relationships with the group’s members.
Start a Discussion
When you attend networking meetings or find yourself face to face with industry influencers, ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. That promotes discussion, which ultimately gives you a deeper opportunity to show off your expertise and industry knowledge.
Be a Resource for Others
When people know that they can depend on you, they will be more likely to return the favor down the road. You never know where the next big opportunity will come from, but if you have established yourself as a generous and active participant in networking meetings, people will more likely seek you out in the future.
Follow Through on Referrals
When your networking contacts refer you to someone, it is as much a reflection on them as it is on you. Make sure that you contact the referral quickly, and speak highly of the person that made the connection. That kind of basic courtesy has a way of paying dividends down the road.
Articulate What Makes You Special
At a networking meeting, you are surrounded by other professionals with a very similar skill set. Make sure you can articulate what makes you special and exceptional, but do it in a non-competitive way. Your goal is to make contacts and secure referrals, not to prove that you are better than everyone else in the room.
Follow these tips, and you can begin a networking process that will benefit you throughout your career. For more tips to aid you job search and your march up the corporate ladder, work with the experts at JH Staffing Services.