Even if it’s the bane of your existence, networking is your best bet for getting a job. And you can be a great networker, if you remember a few simple tips. Whether you’re a networking aficionado or loathe the thought of another networking event, you can use one of these eight tips to get your networking game in shape.
1. Introduce yourself.
Nobody at networking events knows everyone there. Many people are shy or uncomfortable networking. So, it isn’t strange networking behavior if you introduce yourself to others. Someone who could really help you in your job search could be grateful if you make the first move.
2. Find ways to start conversations.
There are easy ways to start conversations at networking events that don’t have anything to do with work. You could compliment someone’s handbag. Or you could talk to someone who is standing alone on the sidelines. Easy conversation starters can be discussing the quality of the food or asking what drink someone has chosen.
3. Stand somewhere at the event where you’re easy to meet.
Since it’s easy to talk to people about food or drink to break the ice, try standing near the bar or the food table to make your job even easier. Other attendees might be more likely to talk to you there, as well.
4. Read the situation.
If you want to make a good impression, you need to understand the kind of event you’re attending. Figure out what’s expected at an event by calling a coordinator, so you don’t prepare for something entirely different than what’s really going on. For example, if the event is informal, you want to show up in business casual – not a suit and tie.
5. Act like someone others would like to know.
You’re not attending networking events solely to make business connections. Instead, you want to attend the event in the mindset that you’re there to make friends. That means you don’t want to come off aggressive or desperate for a job – instead, you want to make a real connection with someone, you know, in the way you might make a friend. That means be gracious and definitely smile.
6. Be altruistic – help others first.
One of the networking best practices is to help others before you expect them to help you. Offer to do something to help out your new contact. This kind of altruistic networking really helps bond your new contacts to you. Put them in touch with a colleague with whom they’d like to receive information. Or offer to take a read through their newest business plan. Once you’ve done something for them, they’ll be more willing to help you, as well.
7. Bring the right materials.
Whether you’re becoming a member of networking groups or are meeting with a contact in a one-on-one setting, you want to bring your networking resume. A one-page document listing your career history, your major accomplishments, and your future goals, your networking resume is designed to encapsulate you as an employee immediately. Don’t leave it at home. Also, be sure to bring along business cards for when handing out your resume isn’t the right move. These cards should have your phone number, job title (even if it’s just your desired job title), professional email, and LinkedIn link. Make sure you get your LinkedIn page in good shape for your new contacts to peruse.
8. Be ready to submit a resume to a company.
If you’ve met someone at an event who suggests a job that might fit you well, you want to be ready to apply. Make sure your resume is a logical fit for the company by running it, along with the job posting, through Jobscan. Jobscan makes your resume applicant tracking system-ready by matching the job posting keywords to those words used on your resume. And, even if your resume is headed into the hands of a real person, Jobscan helps you tailor your resume to that specific position. You also want to make sure your resume is posted online for LinkedIn networking.
Here is a helpful step-by-step guide to help you master the next networking event:
Go ahead, make those connections! After all, referrals have been known to increase your chances of getting hired by at least 7%, who couldn’t use that extra boost?