How To Put Yourself Out There? – Lessons From A Networking Newbie
I have been reading a lot lately about how to network effectively in the job search process. The art of networking has assumed a growing importance in the world which is rapidly changing. Although today’s millennials are tech-savvy and most of their lives are ruled by technology, networking is one aspect which shall never lose the human touch! The interaction may be aided by technology but at the end, you interact with a human! So the most important lesson that I learnt about networking is not to forget to build relations with your contacts because they are humans too! Networking can get as mechanical as it sounds. But if you want to leave a lasting memory, lend a human touch to your interactions. Listen earnestly to what the other person has to say. Engage with them in the true sense of the word. Don’t sound pushy. Instead be interested in the free-flowing conversations. Anecdotes shared during conversations make them lively and memorable.
Don’t be afraid to go up to strangers and make new contacts at career fairs or networking events. It is essential to overcome your inhibitions and stay confident about your true self while engaging in mass networking events. Understand that everyone is in the same boat and looking for the same prospects as you. Have few interesting things to say to engage in conversations with others. Encourage others to participate so that they would not feel left alone. It is always advisable to know few rules of social etiquette to make a pleasant impact in such gatherings. Recently, I had a chance to attend such a fair, although the objective of the fair was not to seek jobs per se, it was a general social gathering aimed at socialising. Although this was not my first go at attending such events, I had my fair share of learning over the years. Earlier, I used to stick around with few people I met early on at the start of the event. This made me feel comfortable and as a result, I hardly ventured outside such a clique. But in the recent event which I attended, I realized I had become better at moving around in the networking circles and I swapped conversation partners with much ease. Of course, this came to me after a lot of tries and several rounds of patience!
Another lesson worth learning is to never hesitate to ask for contact information of the person you would like to stay in touch with. Tell them how you would like to connect with them again sometime in the future. Ask them about their preferred day and time during the day when they would like to be contacted again. Your eagerness to stay connected can go a long way in letting the other person know that you are genuinely interested in building a relation instead of adding yet another name in the phone book!
Explore all the possible avenues to connect with people whose association may be beneficial to you. Explore interest clubs or town halls to meet people sharing your interests. This may prove to be common ground to start off. Or connect with a friend’s friend who you may think might be able to share meaningful insights with you during your job search. Connect with someone on LinkedIn or Facebook, if you find someone working in your target profile/industry/company. This all is indeed hard work but if you persevere long enough, nothing should be difficult for you!
Lastly, once you secure your dream job, volunteer to help someone who may be starting out new in this process. Understand that someone might be looking for the opportunities that you were seeking not long ago! Someone believed in you and gave you a chance. Now it is your turn to believe in someone and give them a chance that they deserve!
(Picture credits: Google images)