Both companies and job seekers need good networking strategies in order to get to where they want in their industry. It has been recommended that everyone would do a 20/20/60 job hunt strategy. Whether you are the one recruiting or the one looking for a new position, here is the breakdown: 20 percent of the time spent on job postings, 20 spent on resumes, and 60 percent networking.
Finding success in networking would mean building professional connections that you can use both immediately and in the long run, giving both parties a lot of advantages not just for their career but for other opportunities as well.
Here are a few dos and don’ts you may want to consider when it comes to building a network of professional connections in your industry.
Know your goal strategy. What is your purpose in networking? Finding this out allows you to strategize how you reach out to each specific company or person. These approaches may include deadlines, what king of people you are trying to connect with, and how to make (and keep) these connections.
Be confident. Networking requires confidence, akin to how you are in a job interview; you have to “sell” yourself to whoever you are trying to reach out to. Lack of confidence easily seeps out and people can sense that. If you must, find a mentor or a role model you can emulate.
Smile and say thank you. While talking to others, make sure to radiate positive vibes – smile a lot while you talk, but make sure these smiles are genuine. Thank the people you talk to for their time and make them feel that you enjoyed their company even if it was just a brief 5-10 minutes of sharing contacts and experiences.
Make a good first impression. Remember that cliché that “first impressions last” – it only takes a few moments for a person to create an assumption about you and size you up, so do your best to make the most of that. Dress appropriately, be classy and talk in a well-mannered fashion.
Follow up with these contacts. Why else would you exchange business cards, right? It’s rather pointless to get a lot of networking done, and then not do anything about it. Check the people you have conversed with, and see who you want to truly develop a professional relationship with. Both of you can benefit from each other. Remind them of when and where you met, and then suggest another possible casual meeting in the near future.
Don’t wait last minute or until a financial crisis hits. True and effective networking happens to be a continual thing, not a process that happens only once a dip in the industry (or country’s financial stand) occurs. Remember the recent recession? It’s not a good idea to keep still until you suddenly lose your job. Build a network of connections to have an easier time reaching out to people in times of dire need such as when a company downsizes.
Don’t be too quiet. Being a wallflower isn’t really the best choice. When at company events, or during networking opportunities, do your best to socialize. Sure, being alone sometimes feels awkward, but remember that everyone is there for a reason. If it really is difficult for you, start small. Introduce yourself to a lone party, or a small group of two to four people at a time. In future events, try slightly bigger groups. Once you get a conversation going, it usually gets easier. As with other skills, networking takes practice.
Don’t ask for a job. Instead, ask for advice. Remember that the people you meet don’t always necessarily have that power to offer you a job. If the roles were reversed, how would you react? Your best bet is to seek their advice or opinion about things. This opens you up to a number of opportunities without them having to spoon feed you.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. It’s okay to be afraid sometimes, but remember that networking is about meeting new people that may potentially help you both professionally and personally, and vice versa. So even if you’re shy, try your best to talk and ask questions. Inquire about experiences, goals, occupation, and even occupational backgrounds. See how conversations flow from there.
If you are in the Central Valley and looking for work or an employee, give us a call today! (559)579-1331! We look forward to helping you.