March 3, 2015
You’ve heard it here before that networking through contacts is the most effective approach when job searching, but let us go into how exactly you as a job seeker can effectively network.
For starters, effective networking involves building lasting relationships where both parties can help each other. So, rather than jump into it with the mindset of “Can you find me a job?” think about it as a chance to get to know others and an opportunity to receive valuable advice. Naturally, the relationship you build will evolve to opportunities to help one another in ways like offering referrals to even job opportunities.
As a job seeker, here’s what you need to keep in mind if you want to network effectively at a job fair, networking event, or online networking community:
1. Come off as approachable.
People with the right attitude are simply more approachable. You don’t even have to say anything, it’s as basic as having the right facial expression and posture. So, when you’re attending a meeting, make eye contact with others and offer a smile. By keeping your head up and arms to your side, you naturally become approachable to initiate conversation with others or welcome others to initiate conversation with you. When it comes to the online community, make sure you profile photo also shows eye contact and a friendly smile.
2. Get help from people you know.
If you want to network with someone, the first step is to see if you already know someone who knows them. If you have a strong relationship with this contact, and they have a mutually strong relationship with that person, getting introduced is simple and easy.
3. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
If you’re at a job fair, networking event, or online networking community, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others. These outlets are meant to help people meet others, you just have to approach it the right way. Find something to engage in that would interest the contact, like pointing out things you have in common or sharing your thoughts and experience about the job fair or networking event. As the conversation evolves, keep to open-ended questions so it leaves room for the other person to engage and leave comment.
4. Continue to build your network.
Whether you are job hunting or not, there are people you will meet throughout your career. Continue to build a strong network as you never know when opportunities may arise and the individual may be of help to you. Go to “9 Networking Groups You Should Join” for insight on other places where you can continue to expand your network.
Once you’ve broken through the awkward point in the beginning of communication and have both established a comfortable level, there’s no end to how far the relationship can go and where a contact may help you when it comes to job searching, career advice and beyond
About the author
Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.