Are there rules to networking? You bet!
- It takes patience. – Networking is all about building trust. Networking is personal. It is important that you take the time to get to know the people that you are interacting with.
- It’s a learned skill. – If you have not had the opportunity to introduce yourself to perfect strangers or to ask for referral introductions, you are probably not going to be very good at it initially. Over time, you will begin to understand the process and gradually become better at it. Don’t rush. Be authentic.
- You have to believe in the process. – The overwhelming majority of job seekers find new employment through networking. The earlier that you accept this reality, the sooner you will find a new job.
- You must be strategic. – I suggest that you approach networking in this manner. When going to a networking event, ask yourself, “How can I help three people today”. If you approach people in this strategic manner, you will be very successful in building your network.
- It requires a diversified plan. – Make sure you have a variety of different ways to meet people in your job search plan.
- Do it with courtesy. Smile and be open to conversation. Watch your body language. Make a good first impression.
- Think creatively. Organize a mastermind session. Host a luncheon. Talk to strangers.
- Give first…give back. – Remember, the first rule of networking is to “Give First” and the second is to “Give Back”.
- Show integrity and reliability. – People refer people they know, like and trust.
- Make it easy for people to help you. – The more specific you can be about what you are looking for in a new job, the easier it will be for people to help you. When asked, “What kind of job are you looking for?” I typically hear “I am looking for a job in accounting for a mid-sized company in Columbus, Ohio. Who do you know that is hiring?” The better answer would be “I have done a great deal of research, and I would really like to work as a staff accountant for XYZ Company. I think the hiring manager is Mary Smith. Do you know anyone who works as XYZ or knows Mary Smith?” See the difference?
Get a great haircut and a manicure. I know money is tight. Do it anyway.
According to scientists, the bumblebee’s body is too heavy and its wingspan too small. Aerodynamically, the bumblebee cannot fly. But the bumblebee doesn’t know that and it keeps flying.
When you don’t know your limitations, you go out and surprise yourself. In hindsight, you wonder if you had any limitations. The only limitations a person has are those that are self-imposed. Don’t let education put limitations on you.