Networking is not a “task.” It’s part of our daily lives.
Everywhere you go, every person you meet, any conversation or circumstantial chat is networking in action. In fact, networking is a natural part of your daily life. Understanding how to capitalize on these encounters is what distinguishes a talented networker from an idle one. The first step, however, is realizing that each person you meet is an opportunity for you to get several steps closer to a job or promotion. Networking is all about maintaining the relationships you already have while building new ones.
Whether you realize it or not, you know more people than you think. The first step to advancing any networking relationships, then, is this: you must make yourself and your situation known. A simple way to go about this is personal introductions. Review your current connections: former co-workers and bosses, family friends, acquaintances of your own, and those in professional networks such as LinkedIn and Monster.com. Next, evaluate what kind of introductions your current network can facilitate. Perhaps an old co-worker is now employed at a local business that interests you, or your old boss has started a private company. Just as you seek to widen your network, so do the people you are networking with, and this ever-expanding web of connections can be used to your advantage.
New Places, New People
Not all networking takes place in a strictly professional or virtual setting. As old fashioned as it may seem, a critical step in advancing your personal and business connections is to go out and be active in your community. Look for activities that communicate your interests: a speaker who is presenting on topics you hold dear, or a charity event that encapsulates some of your philanthropic spirit. You will meet people at such events who share common ground, because it is your mutual interests that attracted you to the event in the first place. This type of networking is particularly beneficial, as it frames you as an active and participatory individual, just the kind that a potential employer would find advantageous to his or her business.
You Are Connected to More Than You Think
As stated, you are networking everyday, whether you know it or not. And while you are reviewing the associations your current network can offer you, you may also consider building upon those already existing relationships. A good networker does not simply meet, meet, meet. A good networker also knows how to manage the existing relationships that he or she possesses. Help these people if they are in need, offer what assistance you can, for you cannot expect to benefit from a relationship that you expect to be one-sided.
You Know the Who and Where – but When?
Everyone lives busy lives, and using breaks in the school and work calendars can do everything to boost your networking skills. If you are a student and spring or summer break is coming up, use this short break to advance introductions with informal coffee dates, just to get a foot in the door. Or if you are already gainfully employed and well out of school, rather than waste away your lunch breaks with buddies or sleep in getting to work 5 minutes before start time, start scheduling three networking lunch dates weekly with people in your industry or 20 minute coffees before work. Your life is social, and to be social is to be a networker.
If you are looking for jobs in Plymouth Meeting PA, contact the employment experts at Magellan today. We have the experience and network to help land your next job.