Next to having a well-rounded set of skills, and plenty of work experience, networking is the greatest thing you can do for your career.
People are more likely to hire someone they know and trust, so proving yourself a valuable asset even before you land the job is a must.
Some of the best jobs out there aren’t even advertised online, so making friends with someone on the inside is the only way you can gain access to these opportunities.
Putting yourself out there is essential if you want to land that dream job. You never know when opportunity could strike.
Find Out What Employers Are Looking For
Before you start developing your network, it might be a good idea to browse through a couple of job descriptions and offers, to get a feel of what employers might want from an employee. These may not be the positions you’re looking for, but they can help you get an idea about the skills you should be working on, and the overall tone you should have. This way, you can highlight the relevant skills and experience in your next conversation.
Think Of It As Making Friends
When you start meeting new people, don’t make the whole conversation about you wanting to get a job. It’s important they like you, first and foremost. And it’s important for you to make friends. Not everyone is going to provide you with a job opportunity straight away, but extending your network of friends can lead you to your next big break.
Try to get to know people, and enjoy the time you spend together. Don’t make it all about your career. Building trust takes more than just a couple of drinks, and trust is perhaps one of the most valuable things for an employer. Having a laid back attitude to the whole process of networking is also going to keep you motivated in your search for that perfect opportunity.
Show Your Passion For The Trade
When you’re trying to convince someone that you’re the guy or the gal for the job, if you have to show them you know what you’re talking about. In a job interview, that’s a pretty straightforward conversation.
But in an informal setting, you’ll want to know more insightful and fun facts about your field. So make sure you’re up to date with all the juicy insider gossip, latest news, coolest tech, and funniest anecdotes, to spice up the conversation with your savviness. Sprinkle these comments here and there, to let people know you are interested in the domain even when you’re not at work. But be careful not to overdo it!
Don’t Be Shy About Your Personal Interests
Your conversations don’t have to revolve around work all the time. If you have a hobby or something you’re passionate about, share it. Bonding over a common interest is a sure way to make new friends. After all, you’re going to work very closely with your employer, and a good match is hard to find. If you discover you share things outside of work early on, you’ll have a much better chance at building a strong professional relationship in the future.
Being an open and interesting person is of the utmost importance when you’re trying to make new friends. When you’re trying to connect with people who might be able to help you in your career, it might be a good idea to work on a personal brand. Personal branding is something you’re probably doing instinctively anyway, but you should take charge of the process. Make sure you know exactly how you want to present yourself, and how you can adapt that persona according to your future employer’s needs.
Don’t Leave Your Chance Encounter Completely Up To Chance
Meeting people in informal contexts can be fun, but if you want to give yourself a better chance of finding the right people that are going to help you in your career, you can go to networking events.
There are some great networking events all around the world. With hundreds of attendants, conferences, and informative talks, you’re bound to find useful information and meet wonderful people with really good insights. These events get the best of both worlds since they feature informal get-togethers, parties, and drinks. But the overarching point of all these social events is to meet new, like-minded people for a possible work collaboration in the future.
Stay In Touch
If you’ve found someone who seems to have some promising opportunities to offer, make sure you maintain your connection. Job offers are probably not going to come over night, and you have to invest some time and effort into building a new friendship. If you feel like you’re getting along well, make sure to ask for some contact information. The easiest and the most neutral way to contact them is probably going to be via email or Facebook.
If you find something that you want to share, and might interest them, just do it! If you’re going to an event they might enjoy, why not invite them, and your mutual friends, to come along? These small interactions will keep your relationship alive, and thriving.
Keep an open mind about every person you meet. The worst thing you can do when you’re networking is to let everyone know you’re in it just for the job opportunity. It’s a good way to turn people off, and you’ll miss out not just on a potential job offer, but, worst, on a potential friend.
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