Embark on the Path to Great Networking

Networking is defined as a supportive system of individuals, groups, or institutions that exchanges or shares information and services. Of course, it also implies a cultivation of productive relationships for employment, business, or advancement.

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Networking is not about continuous socializing or asking people for jobs. Its not a one-way street, nor is it a linear process. Above all, it does not need to equal job-search drudgery.

Every encounter is a networking possibility. What are you looking to do in your move? Is it relocation, forced unemployment, or a needed career/job change? Sit down and establish your goals and objectives.

Chances are you need to reframe your networking attitude. Consider this activity as a way to meet new people in new venues that allow you to broaden your perspective. If you have just relocated, this is an opportune way to get to know your new area. Say new in town, and you will receive more attention than you can handle.

If you are an extrovert, you are likely a natural for networking. Just remember that pure socializing is not the same as networking. Be sure to stick to your goals. If you are an introvert, the mere thought of mingling with dozens of unknown people might be exhausting. If in job-seeker mode, try to choose a couple events to attend each week and decide beforehand how long to stay so that you meet your goals.

In creating a job-search plan, the easiest part to design is the networking. Commit to a four-month strategy. Review the local business and chamber calendars, professional and trade association program calendars, and events of personal interest, including volunteer opportunities. Plug them into your plan and you now have a framework.

Research and Prepare

Getting started in professional, career, and job-seeker networking begins with becoming informed.

  • Figure out how to maintain being a current, knowledgeable professional. Learn more about the city and it's employers. Go to a seminar through the local chamber of commerce. Thoroughly read the city and county websites. Visit the library and read the Business Journals Book of Lists.
  • Who is on the board at the chamber and local associations? You could make a new in town phone call to any of these offices, membership coordinators, or board members.
  • Job seekers should always try to be better informed than the people working. Helping them stay informed is an important part of keeping an ongoing communication loop.

Put Your Plan into Action

After defining your objective, researching, and preparing, it's time to initiate your game plan.

  • Establish new contacts by attending the events and volunteering opportunities that you discovered.
  • Schedule informational meetings with these new contacts. Be ready to talk about issues relevant to their company or industry. Ask about their goals.
  • Consider how your skills meet the needs of the company. A job search should not be about your needs, but what you can offer. Know about competitors and expansion opportunities.
  • Try to, at least, establish a rapport with a person on the phone. This added dimension makes it more likely that they will think of you when the time is right.

Don't Forget the Internet

While face-to-face contact is generally most effective, Internet networking is also effective. Putting together a profile on LinkedIn is a natural step. Know that you must be linked and introduced through others and cannot just friend someone at a local company or in a position of interest. Consider developing local connections under specific categories through Twitter. Seek out discussion boards for local chapters of professional or alumni organizations and networking groups, including those that can be followed without introduction through LinkedIn.

The Next Step A Database

The best way to keep track of your networking activities is through a database. Remember that, to develop quality relationships, it is important to keep in touch and provide others with ideas or contacts in exchange. Networking is not about asking for work. Its primary goal is to obtain contacts, access, and information. Ultimately, it can be the game that keeps on giving long after you have found the perfect job.

 

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Posted in Business Other Post Date 04/02/2015


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