Career Tip of the Month
Many people hesitate to network because they think that they have to be a super-outgoing, mega-personality type who can remember everyone's name and their personal circumstances. But networking doesn't have to be about being outgoing, bold, or loud. Networking can be done in whatever manner you feel comfortable and can be nothing more than introducing yourself and asking someone to keep your name in mind if they know of anyone who is looking for a job, period. Actually, the best networking is conducted casually, when you're talking with people at a meeting who share your interests, at events like a seminar or professional mixer, or at an alumni function. Talk is focused on what you know and do best?your profession.
Social networking, networking done via e-mail or social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, has made the whole networking experience easier because it has removed the social awkwardness often involved in trying to sustain a conversation with a stranger, the ?Okay, now what do we talk about?? part. Some people will argue that social networking is eliminating our ability to develop interpersonal conversational skills, but that's a discussion for another day. For job seekers who tend to be on the shy side, social networking provides an easier mechanism for conversing with people they don?t know?just get online, create a professional profile, post a notice, respond to a post, and before you know it you're networking.
People are beginning to realize that a large network doesn't necessarily reap the best results. More often than not, a small, well-selected group of contacts will provide more support and potential career leads in the long run. Targeting your networking to one or two individuals at a professional organization meeting or mixer is more productive than trying to meet everyone.
When you do make a contact, try to make it a purposeful connection. If you belong to a group on LinkedIn for example, post answers to questions and offer to help others out. By being helpful to others, your connections will be more inclined to help you when you need them. And if someone does give you some helpful advice, or helps you get your foot in the door of that company you?ve been trying to get a job with, always remember to thank them.