If you don’t know the right people, it’s time to rethink your networking strategy. You never know when a new connection might lead to a great opportunity, either right away or in the future. Here are some tips to get you started.
Use social media to your advantage
You may hate social media, but it is an invaluable networking tool, so it’s time to embrace it. Post interesting, informative and relevant content that might catch prospective employers’ eyes. Respond to content posted by the companies you admire. Present yourself in a professional and proactive way at all times.
Talk, talk, talk
Networking is a bit like evangelism. Often it just comes down to taking opportunities and getting a conversation going. Whether you’re at a formal networking event, a training event or on the bus, you never know where your discussion might lead. Be friendly and ask plenty of questions as well as explaining what you are good at or involved in.
Join a professional network
There are plenty of professional online communities that will give you easy opportunities to network with people in your target field. This may give you the chance to consider new ideas and get valuable guidance from your peers as well as providing your own input.
Don’t be afraid of rejection
Not every networking opportunity will lead to a new job, so don’t become disheartened and give up. If you feel as though you are being constantly knocked back, don’t take it personally. Be confident and persevere, moving on swiftly if you sense that your efforts aren’t leading anywhere. Reach out to people without having specific end results in mind. The key is to start a conversation and build on this over time.
Carry business cards at all times
Investing in a professional set of business cards containing up-to-date information is a must. Even if you don’t have a lengthy conversation with someone, handing over a business card will help people keep you in mind if and when an opportunity arises. If people give you their business cards, store them carefully and keep in touch.
Networking isn’t just about what you can get out of the situation. People may ask you for advice or information. If so, be generous with your knowledge and experience. Helping someone else out is never a waste of time. One-sided networking is unlikely to be successful in the long term.
Follow up with employers
If you applied for a job and didn’t get an interview, or had an interview but didn’t get the job, don’t give up all hope. Ask for feedback and show that you are interested in similar opportunities if they crop up in the future.