If you are successful at networking, it can lead to future jobs and careers that you mightn’t of otherwise thought about. The thought can be scary and a little bit daunting, but in reality it isn’t. It is reported that around 60% of all job positions are filled through networking. Developing contacts is the key to success. Talk to friends, family, teachers, lecturers – you will be surprised at the amount of information they have, and also the people who they can put you in touch with.
Another way to network is through networking events. If you are going to go, make sure you prepare an elevator pitch. This is a way to summarise who you are. It should be brief, persuasive, emphasise your skills and you need to practise it! Your speech should be no longer than 60 seconds, so it needs to be the best it possibly can. Mention your goals. Be ambitious. And another tip – have a business card ready! It shows you are professional and prepared, and is a way of continuing conversation and is an easy way of giving the employer your contact details, should they want to speak to you again. Also, get their business card as well! However, there are some things you should avoid. Don’t speak too fast, ramble, or be monotone. Yes, there is a short period of time, but it needs to be flexible and quirky if you are going to get someone’s attention.
When you network, be genuine. It’s about building trust and relationships, to help both parties in the long run. Be open minded. Instead of asking closed questions, ask open ones – who, what, where, why, when. Avoid questions with simple yes and no answers, as it shows you are interested and want to know more. Be a powerful resource. If you help others, the likelihood is they will help you in return. If you promise you are going to introduce someone to another person, make sure you follow through.
To summarise, there are five simple steps when it comes to networking:
- Preparation – elevator pitch and business cards!
- Connections – make connections. Asked to be introduced to people, introduce new people to the people you already know
- Body language – avoid being on your phone, stand tall, make eye contact, engage in conversations. Observe the room, and see who is most likely to
- Be memorable – possible employers will see hundreds of people wanting the job. You need to stand out! Be confident, it’s your time to shine!
- Help your contacts – remember it’s a two-way street: the more people you help, the larger your networks will grow!
Many people dismiss the idea of networking to find work, but actually, it can be really useful. Just starting a simple conversation could lead to so many possible outcomes. Someone I know found a job because of the person she was sat next to on a plane. Always be prepared, you don’t know who you might meet!