One of the most uncomfortable aspects of a job search is networking. There’s just something about putting your ‘needy’ self out there that feels like fingernails scratching on a blackboard. But here are three secrets that can make a huge difference.

BIG Secret #1:  It’s NOT about YOU!  I know this seems contrary to the point of why you’re networking in the first place!  YOU are trying to find YOU a job! What’s more uncomfortable than that?! But let’s take a different approach. Networking DOES NOT mean you’re looking to use people to achieve selfish goals, or opportunistically ask people for help. Innately we all know that coming on strong like an Amway salesman won’t cut it!

Instead, think of networking as what YOU can do for someone else, albeit another job seeker or a potential employer.  As you roam a room or an event, approach folks as an interested party, an avid listener and someone  who can provide support, advice, a referral or a tip. You will certainly leave a positive impression and I assure you, your chances of being remembered are equally high. Who knows? Those you helped could return the favor! “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you,” (Dale Carnegie).

Secret #2:It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you! If you put Secret #1 to good use, Secret #2 logically follows.  Those genuinely interested and concerned for others cultivate trust. Jobs and opportunities are born from people who trust you. To be successful, you have to be able to relate to people; they have to be satisfied with your personality to be able to do business with you and to build a relationship with mutual trust, (George Ross).  

Secret #3:  Follow-up with future contact(s). When a networking opportunity has concluded, consider how many people you met AND HELPED. Chances are they will remember you. There is one sure and fast way to make sure!  Contact them! Did you make any promises you need to follow-through on? Did you provide concrete information about yourself, including your business card so they can contact you?  Would an email, a phone call or a chat over a cup of coffee provide further assistance to someone?

To network effectively is to genuinely attempt to help those you meet.  It’s the premise of a great book, The Go-Giver, “ A little story about a powerful business idea” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.  The powerful business idea is that the secret to success is giving. It’s the secret to successful, painless networking too.

~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~

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