Networking can be an intimidating task. Networking events are huge, and filled with people who already seem to know each other. Networking websites seem to lack genuine interactions and are overloaded with information. Often, candidates shy away from networking because they don’t even know where to begin.
Well, for starters – you can begin at “hello.”
All you need is a little practice and you can make networking an easy and routine part of your day. Building your confidence to network can build your career. Here are a few tips to help you improve your networking skills.
Engage people with thoughtful questions
Think of a networking encounter like an interview. You are looking for opportunities – though there’s no template for exactly what they look like. Try asking similar questions that you would see in a job interview, mixing personal and professional questions. Remember that at many of these events you’ll be at a restaurant or a bar, so keep it simple and engaging. People at networking events are looking for ways to improve their business or careers but are not aggressively going after them.
Join the digital conversation on LinkedIn
Even if it takes a good deal of your time, get to know your way around LinkedIn. You’re looking to find the right people to add to your professional network, and LinkedIn is a great way to engage and maintain those connections.
Follow up and stay on their radar
Did you meet a small business owner who could use your organizational skills? How about a manager about to switch companies? Take your time following up with people who presented opportunities. Send the business owner a few examples of how you organized workflows. When the manager puts in his or her notice, have the, suggest you as a replacement. These results only occur when you take the time to network and engage.
Create memorable interactions
Don’t just walk around handing out business cards without any context to your qualifications. Talk with as many people as you can, but make an effort to get to know their needs and wants before you put yourself out there. Listening more than talking will create a memorable connection, one that may get you noticed when a job opening pops up.
Remember that networking is a professional situation, not the time to hang out with your buddies. Maintain a polished and professional demeanor the whole time, reminding yourself to stay positive and upbeat.
Still trying to find your career path? Contact one of the experienced recruiters at Burnett and Choice Specialists. We can connect you with some of the best for temporary assignments or direct hire opportunities. We’ll help you join professional networks that can boost your opportunities. Contact us today!