Networking is known, by many in any business circle, the top rung of the ladder to getting hired. No matter who you talk to, be it a career counselor, to a personal power guru these people always encourage you to the same call of action – to network. This one method is the stepping stone and portal key to finding your next job no matter how small of an action you place it to be.
Even though you know that networking is very important to your overall success. You wonder how it is that you are supposed to gather up a list of networking contacts. Relationship building can grow both online and in person as long as you work at meeting new people and getting to know what they do and how they distinguish themselves within the business community. This process never ends throughout your entire career so get used to making friends and acquaintances. Here are a few tricks to expanding your networking contacts.
Friend –of-a-friend referral
This is the first step when listing your current network contacts which include your family, friends and coworkers. Asking these contacts for leads in who can be beneficial for you knowing of them. You would be surprised at how many contacts can come from asking “who should I be talking to?”
Join similar job or trade oriented organizations
By joining an organization with like-minded goal oriented people you open up another avenue of contacts you never had before. Once you’re a member you have access to the membership list which holds potential network contacts. By attending the regional meetings and/or conferences you potentially meet even more contacts through the meet and greets.
Conferences, meetings, and trade shows
By seeking out peers and experienced members at the meet and greets you add to your network. The in-depth meetings and socializing during the meet and greets gives you more opportunities.
Venue for networking: Volunteering
By giving up your time and effort to a cause you are potentially engaging in an area of untapped networking potential. By surrounding yourself with other volunteers from other business endeavors around the community, you may never have the opportunity to network with any other time.
Attend events designated for networking specifically
By keeping in the know with online community calendars and your local newspaper you can virtually find networking events from local colleges, that are helping their students learn the art associated with networking, to chambers of congress and of course professional and industry leaders who make great potential network contacts.
The collegiate experience
This sought after networking market of various leaders and industry professionals can be built and strengthened by a commonality of the college from students, distinguished alumni, and professors to the career services office. The solid base of experiences equals a strong connection to build upon.
Strengthen your presence on social media and professional networking sites
There are a plethora of ways to increase your networks through social media and professional websites such as LinkedIn. By adding new people and reconnecting with old friends and co-workers you gain valuable exposure to new networks. Although the online networking isn’t as efficient as personal connections they may help ease you into face-to-face meetings.
This can be considered an ultimate way of networking being everyone has shared experiences of looking for a job. It can lead to very positive and rewarding experiences not otherwise found.
Strategically speaking, by researching and interviewing those who are on the inside of the profession you wish to attain is a smart move. You find out how they got their foot in the door and climbed the ladder to their success within. These informative interviews allow for insight into the career you want.
Reuniting with former business associates
Between co-workers, customers and even vendors that you once worked with, another source of possible employment opportunities exist from these lost networks that you may have unknowingly disregarded in the past.
Overall, networking is a necessary step into anyone’s future employment. Just remember that those contacts that you’ve made, while networking to get you where you want to be, may reciprocate the network and ask help from you in securing job leads or opportunities that may not have existed if weren’t for you. Therefore, never be afraid to ask for help.
Never be afraid to continue to grow your network of associates, and professionals alike. A good practice while networking is to do these three things; carry business cards with your contact information on it. Have a quick speech rehearsed to introduce yourself is an excellent idea. Always make sure you have a resume at hand in case a networking encounter leads to deeper possibilities. Being prepared to network with people could literally change your life, because the opportunity to meet someone can happen literally anywhere.