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Monday, July 13, 2009

Networking, Does It Work?

I am sure you have heard and read that networking is one of the best ways to find your new dream job. But do you know the best ways to network? Although some of the suggestions listed below might seem easy to follow, some people might not find it hard to accomplish. So if you are shy make networking success a personal challenge and keep at it.

  1. NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES ARE EVERYWHERE – don’t limit it to just networking events. You never know who will seat next to you on the plane or bus or who will be behind you at the grocery store.
  2. RESEARCH NEW EVENTS – if you want to expand your network don’t forget different opportunities such as local alumni meetings, professional organizations, continuing education classes, conventions, class reunions, fundraisers, business conferences…..you get the picture.
  3. REACH OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE – be interested in people. If you are shy about discussing yourself, build connections by finding common ground through questions and talking about your personal interests. There are endless possibilities: friends, relatives, professors, former co-workers, your barber/hairdresser, business executives, your physician, local politicians, neighbors, in addition to social networking sites, of course.
  4. PREPARE YOUR MESSAGE – rehearse your elevator speech but don’t generalize by giving just your title – be specific about what you did and what you accomplished. And make your message about qualifications is always consistent.
  5. DON’T TAKE YOUR RESUME to networking and other events. Save it for job fairs. Instead, have business cards printed with your information in front and a list of your specific skills/accomplishments in the back. You can order inexpensive, professional looking cards from office supply stores and many online vendors. And have cards with you at all times.
  6. AT THE EVENT - try to find out who will be there (companies and people); then research them. Rehearse you elevator speech on the way to the event and circulate throughout the event but don’t spend too much time on a single conversation. Remember your purpose is to walk away with lots of business cards to add to your networking file. If you don’t have one create a rolodex, database or notebook with details about each contact: who they are, what they do, where you met, their interests, who they now, etc.
  7. HELP OTHERS – whenever possible. Remember to treat people with respect if you want to be treated with respect. Help as much as you can others who are networking by providing leads, suggestions, etc.
  8. FOLLOW UP – this is critical as having a well written resume. After you make a contact, write a thank you note and refer to specific advice or to the lead that he/she provided you. And keep in touch with your contacts on a regular basis, including inviting them to events that they might not be aware of; and when you get a new job, let them know and thank them again.

1 comment:

John said...

Charlotte,
Networking does work! Since I was layed off in February, I have joined LinkedIn and have connected with several people that have provided me with valuable leads on job openings. Unfortunately, no luck as of yet.

While we are on the subject, I have read that Verison will be heavily involved in FTTH builds around the country. I would like to become part of the Verison team in a construction management role on these FTTH projects. Please visit my profile on LinkedIn by going to the following link http://www.linkedin.com/johnempey or http://www.visualcv.com/jempey.

Thank you