Does simply hearing the word networking fill you with anxiety? Many of my clients can relate, but guess what? It doesn’t have to send you into a spiral —it really isn’t all that scary!
I’m here to help! Here are some quick tips and tricks that will change your mind about networking.
It’s time to turn networking from foe to friend.
Networking isn’t just attending large events alone. It can also mean simply reaching out to people on LinkedIn and setting up more casual one-on-one virtual coffee dates.
You don’t have to know the exact job you want, but you should have a general idea of what you’re targeting. The more organized and upfront you are, the easier it is for someone to help you. Take some time to reflect on your strengths and accomplishments. When you look inward, an aha moment about your future is never far behind.
Craft the perfect elevator pitch. There is no one way to do this, but here are some key things to remember:
- It should be 20-30 seconds.
- Be sure it explains who you are, what you do and how you are unique.
- Ensure it’s compelling enough to pique your listener’s attention and leave them wanting to know more.
- Practice this in the mirror or on a friend!
The goal should always be to gather information and grow your network. While you might need a job, please don’t lead with that energy because it might turn the right person off and have them less inclined to help. So, reframe why you are networking. You aren’t necessarily asking for a job. Think of it as more of an opportunity to learn about the person in front of you, what they do, why they love it (or don’t!), and who they know. This will help you build that network, gain some invaluable knowledge and ultimately help you get the job you’re looking for. Just remember —BE COOL.
Tap into your existing network. Think of friends, past colleagues, classmates, and even family. My clients always think they’ve totally done this, but as we dig a little deeper, we usually find that they’ve overlooked some pretty great connections.
Pro tip: create a spreadsheet to keep track of everyone you’re planning to contact. You will be surprised by how quickly this list grows. You can start by downloading your connections from LinkedIn.
Although meeting in person is always preferable, COVID has made many people reluctant to do so. Why not propose a phone call or a video chat?
During your meeting, it’s important to remember to be an attentive listener while also discussing some of your own accomplishments and asking for ways to grow your network.
Keep in Touch
If you’re feeling good about your time together by the end of the conversation, ask permission to keep the lines of communication open. You never know who will be helpful and when!
Pro Tip: Always send a thank-you note to show appreciation for the time they spent with you. This goes a long way.
Hope you found these simple tips helpful and are feeling a little less anxious about the not so scary world of networking. Remember, start with friends and family and branch out from there. It gets easier the more you do it. Don’t worry — you got this.
If you’re looking for more tips, check out my FREE Mini Career Workshop for some invaluable job-seeking info https://careerrealtalk.com/free-mini-career-workshop/
Jen Narayan, Career Consultant