Does the idea of networking for a new job or business opportunity seem intimidating to you? This list of must-know tips for professional networking will help you prepare and master the art of relationships.
As a career coach, one of the primary skills I get my clients to build is their networking skills. Networking skills aren’t just about getting what you want, but they’re about connecting, helping, and building reliable relationships. Positive relationships are what open up opportunity to help and be helped.
Networking is scary and, at times, nerve wracking. Armed with information, insight, and confidence, you’ll be able to make connections, achieve goals, and build profitable long-term relationships.
8. Consider career professionals. When considering your networking contact list for a new job or career, include your career coach or counselor, headhunter, and job search agency account executive. These individuals know information about the job market and might give you tips on how to market yourself given the current market conditions.
9. Increase your odds by networking by two. Networking is a numbers game. The more, high-quality sources you know, the higher your chances of success. Networking by two is a technique I get my clients to employ when they are networking for information. All you have to do is ask at the end of your networking conversation, “Do you know two or three people who could help me answer my questions on X topic?” Remember, only those who are confident and comfortable with sharing contact information will do so, so be sure to be prepared, reliable, and upfront about your intentions.
10. Mind your manners. Networking is a social activity, so it means remembering your manners. One can never say “Thank you” too much. Offer assistance to those who help you, show your gratitude, be reliable in following up and be honest and earnest. Watch your attitude and demeanor. People can sense when you’re being sincere or not.
11. Be specific. In Part One, I said to write a list of goals or objectives that will help identify what you want to accomplish during your networking campaign. This also includes having a list of specific questions that can help you get specific answers. This is not just an act that will help you remain confident when asking questions, but you’ll also get valuable information and uncover wonderful opportunities because people are able to give you specific answers in response to your specific questions.
12. Network for information. Approach networking as a quest for information. This information will help you know where to look next, what questions to move onto, intelligent sources, and game changing information. People are turned off by those who simply ask for job opportunities. Focus on getting answers to questions and believe that opportunities will come naturally from conversation. People love solving problems, so if you approach your networking contacts with a problem, they will naturally feel inclined to help you get to the next step.
13. Be enthusiastic. Approach your networking campaign with joy and excitement. People love to help positive, self-starting people. Coach yourself to remain positive and envision yourself steadily accomplishing your goals. When people ask you how your job search is going, respond with positive insights and small successes. Show others that you’re dedicated to seeing positive change – even in small bites.
14. Become a confident speaker. This doesn’t mean you have to give a speech in front of thousands, it just means that you mean what you say and say what you mean and you feel comfortable executing your thoughts and ideas. Practice with your coach, friend, or loved-one – or, even in front of the mirror – until you feel natural about explaining who you are, what you are looking for, and what you aim to accomplish.