When it comes to job searching, networking is often mentioned as a key element to success. The idea of networking, however, can be both intimidating and uncomfortable for many job seekers. What do you talk about? How do you introduce yourself? How do you make connections? If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. In this blog, we will explore some tips on where to start and how to make the most out of your networking experience.
- Start with your own network: The old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” holds true in many cases. Start by reaching out to your family, friends, and former colleagues. Let them know that you are job searching and ask if they know of any opportunities or if they have any contacts they could introduce you to. Make a list of everyone you know, including acquaintances and your parents’ friends. These may not be the people who have a job for you, but they may know someone who does.
- Attend networking events: Industry events and job fairs are great opportunities to meet people in your field. Check out industry organizations in your city and see if they hold regular networking events. Sign up for job fair alerts and attend as many as you can. These events may feel overwhelming, but remember that most people are there for the same reason as you: to make connections.
- Use social media: LinkedIn is a powerful tool for job seekers. Create a profile and start connecting with people in your field. Engage with their content and post your own thoughts and ideas. Twitter can also be a great platform for networking. Use relevant hashtags to find people in your field and strike up a conversation. Just remember to keep your interactions professional.
- Informational interviews: An informational interview is a chance to talk to someone in your field about their job and career path. This is not a job interview, but rather an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the industry. Reach out to people in your network or find professionals on LinkedIn or industry websites. Ask if they would be willing to chat with you and set up a time to meet (in person or virtually). Be respectful of their time and be prepared with questions.
- Join a group: Look for groups that align with your career interests or hobbies. This could be anything from a professional organization to a book club. Joining a group can be a great way to meet new people and make connections. Volunteering can also be a great way to network while giving back to your community.
Networking may be intimidating, but it is an essential part of job searching. Remember that everyone started somewhere and most people are happy to help. Start by reaching out to your own network and attending events. Utilize social media and consider informational interviews. Join a group or volunteer. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and be willing to put yourself out there. Good luck!