5 Job Networking Tips
When you’re looking for a new job, networking can play a key role in landing your next position. It can also be crucial when you’re looking to move up the career ladder. But networking can be a challenging art to master, especially in this modern digital age. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve explored five simple networking tips below!
Why is Networking Important?
You’ve probably heard how important networking is, but if you’ve always found jobs via job boards and newspaper adverts, you may not have experienced it firsthand. So what are the benefits of networking?
Perhaps the main advantage of networking is that it’s a way to progress your career without just relying on what’s written on paper. You can use your personal connections, get to know people, demonstrate your skills and learn more about your industry, all without having to show anyone your CV. Potential employers can see in person that you’re a confident, enthusiastic and well-spoken individual - they don’t have to take your word for it.
Networking furthermore gives you a solid foundation in an interview. You’ll have already forged a level of trust with the employer, so won’t be starting from scratch when building a rapport.
You won’t be surprised to hear that networking can help you access opportunities you may not have otherwise been aware of. Not all jobs are posted online - they’re often filled before it even gets to that stage. So if you’re looking for a new job, you need to regularly check your network connection to see if there are any suitable roles being discussed.
How to Network
When it comes to networking itself, the main components are practice and time. As with any skill, it probably won’t come naturally straight away. However, after attending a few industry events and posting online, you’re bound to get the hang of it, and may even start enjoying yourself!
If you’re a more introverted person, networking might seem like a daunting prospect. But if you follow the five steps below, there’s a good chance you’ll see the benefits of networking before too long.
1. Be Confident
Even if you’re not feeling all that confident, it’s essential that you at least act it! It’s important to overcome your fears and push yourself to speak to new people. And if you’re feeling particularly anxious, you can prepare questions and discussion topics beforehand, so you won’t run out of things to say.
It’s also good to bear in mind that you won’t always come away with useful connections. At some events, you may meet a lot of interesting people, but have nothing to show in terms of networking for a new job. That’s not a problem - you can be proud of your efforts, no matter what the outcome!
2. Be Patient
Building strong relationships takes time. There’s no easy way around this, so you have to learn to be patient when it comes to networking. And just asking someone for a job before getting to know them may come across as rather presumptuous!
Instead of discussing a job from the start, it can be helpful to contact companies and ask to have a look around their offices, or an informal discussion about what they do as a business. Then when you arrive, try to get to know the team, particularly the hiring managers, before asking whether they’re hiring.
3. Network in Person
While there are many different ways to network online, doing it face-to-face comes with its own rewards. It can be much easier to build relationships with people if you go out to lunch with them, rather than just communicate over a computer screen. Think of it as strengthening friendships rather than building industry relationships!
You can actually network amongst friends too - sometimes at informal settings like summer BBQs and winter parties, you’re introduced to people working in your industry that are looking to hire. Networking doesn’t always have to be carefully planned, such as going to job fairs, conventions and conferences.
If you do decide to network in person, it may be a good idea to find a friend who’s willing to go with you to events. And don’t forget to take a stack of business cards - you want your connections to be able to contact you again!
4. Network Online
Although networking in person can be invaluable, you can’t stop there. It’s equally important to use online resources such as social platforms to reach a wider audience. Location can be a challenge when meeting face-to-face, but online, you can close the distance.
Social networks like LinkedIn can be a great way to talk to other people in your industry, who are actively networking themselves. Not to mention the fact that you can use the contacts of the people you know to meet new people!
5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up
If you’ve put hours of work into networking, you don’t want to just leave it there. To guarantee that your interactions bear fruit, it’s essential that you follow up with these people after making the initial contact. You could ask a few more questions, continue a discussion, or simply thank them for meeting with you.
Overall, networking is about strengthening your relationships with others in your industry, so make sure you’re always making an effort to keep in touch! Once you’ve reached out to someone, try to keep in contact with them, as you never know who can help you in your career later down the line!
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