Networking is a necessity for a jobseeker in today’s challenging marketplace. Over 50% of all jobs in Ireland are now being filled through networking and recommendations.
A mentor of mine recently made a comment which made me sit up and take note. “Greg he said…your business looks great…..your service looks great…but who knows you are out there?” I have not stopped networking since! So an employer will never find you unless they know you exist.
Here are 10 tips that I hope will assist you with your Networking efforts:
- Know your network– I was amazed at the number of people that I had connections with already when I started networking. Spend some time to write down all the contacts that you have that could potentially assist you with your job search. Examples- friends on Facebook, college friends, secondary school contacts, members of your local sports club, neighbours, family friends, family and ex work colleagues etc. It was only when I wrote these contacts down that I realised how big my network was. Keep adding to your network weekly and be creative– bus stops, train stations, hotel lobbies, and airport lounges can all be good places to make good contacts. I recently got a new client referred to me from my local Spar cashier.
- Know yourself and your objectives – It is impossible to tell others who you are and what you do if you are not sure yourself. Decide on how best to describe your “business self” and clearly state what type of role you are seeking. Try to design a 90 second message (often referred to as an elevator pitch) and practice it regularly. This will ease the nerves and ensure a clear message is conveyed when meeting a new contact.
- Be Positive – The majority of jobseekers are lacking confidence and have a pessimistic attitude towards their prospects in the job market. Seize the opportunity to be positive and upbeat when networking. You will shine above your competition.
- Go to the right Events – Ask yourself “Who do I want to meet and who are the people that can help me find employment?” Then find out what events they attend. Ask existing contacts if they have any advice or even better if they know the people you want to meet and can introduce you.
- Prepare before the networking event – If possible study the guest list prior to the event and decide on who you want to meet. Practice your elevator pitch.
- Dress to impress – First impressions last. Make yours count.
- Bring Business Cards – Every job seeker should carry business cards. The cards should state your name contact details and area of expertise. This will ensure you never miss out on a valuable connection.
- Don’t network with friends – You are more likely to make meaningful contacts if you go to events alone. The temptation to find a corner and talk to your friends may be too much.
- Listen – The best way to build a relationship with people is to show a genuine interest in them and what they do. They are far more likely to be interested in you if you are interested in them. Also, the information they tell you may be invaluable.
- Follow up and stay in contact with contacts – Always follow up with your new contacts. Many people will send an email the day after a meeting. Make an effort to stay in regular contact with your network and meet up with them face to face whenever possible.