5 easy steps to start career networkingSeptember 15, 2008 by firstname.lastname@example.org
Studies indicate that the most effective way to find a job is through networking. Trying to shift to a completely new industry? Network. Trying to move across the country to a completely new job market? Network. Trying to get into the hottest company in town or work for the hottest boss? Network. Trying to overcome a perceived deficit in your professional or educational background? Network.
It’s difficult to deny the benefits of career networking, yet career seekers continually ignore this proven method of finding a new job. Resistance to career networking usually is due to an incorrect perception of how to get started, or to a self-imposed barrier of some sort. Try these five easy steps to start your career networking strategy.
Avoid assumptions. Often, the first words out of the new networker’s mouth are, “I don’t know anyone who can help me get to where I want. Everyone I know is just like me.” You might be surprised who people know. Even your closest friends and family members know someone you should meet or someone who knows someone. Don’t assume your current network is full of dead ends.
Begin in your comfort zone. One misconception about networking is that you have to talk with people you don’t know. This is uncomfortable for a lot of people because they simply don’t like talking to strangers or don’t know what to say. Select a few people (friends, family members, co-workers, etc.) you know, like and trust to begin with them.
Identify your goals. What is it you want this year? A new position within your company? A new job altogether? New projects to expand your resume? Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you determine your approach and what to say.
Just ask. Because your first time is always a bit awkward, just make a determination that you’re going to just ask…to meet, talk on the telephone, get advice, or whatever it is you need to do. Once you get over the initial fear and discomfort of asking, it gets easier.
Resolve not to ask for a job. That’s right; don’t ask someone for a job. If you ask someone for something not within his or her power to give you, he or she will be less inclined to want to help you. It’s a common human response: we tend avoid what causes us pain, and many of us equate failure with pain. Rather than asking for a job, ask for information, other people to talk to, or feedback on how people perceive your skills, abilities and marketability. Nearly everyone can successfully give you what you need in these areas.
Following these five easy steps will help you quickly start networking and more quickly find your next job.
Sharon Thomas DeLay is a certified resume writer and career confidence specialist, focusing on interview and networking skills development. Her blog “Inside the Hiring Manager’s Mind” presents practical career advice from the hiring manager’s perspective. Visit Sharon’s website or e-mail her for more information.
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