Getting Out There: How to Effectively NetworkPosted February 13, 2017 in Job Hunting, Career Advice
Written by: IYN Metroland Media
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
The 2017 job market is very competitive. An education, resume and cover letter aren’t always enough to truly represent you and what you have to offer. Today, networking plays a vital role for job seekers and career changers. Emailing your old university mentor once doesn’t really qualify as networking; you truly have to have a multi-faceted plan in order to stand out.
Curate Your Social Network
Your online persona plays a huge role in how you are perceived by outsiders. If you want to attract the kinds of people who can help you on your career path, it’s best to present yourself in a way that demonstrates how serious you are about reaching your goals. For starters, your personal social media profiles can give hiring managers a unique insight into the kind of person you are. This means that your Facebook and Twitter accounts could be heavily scrutinized by recruiters and employers. If you want this to play in your favour, be sure to remove any past indiscretions that you’re no longer proud of. This isn’t to say lie about who you are, but approach social media with a much more professional attitude.
Outside of your personal social media accounts, there are places where you can network online that are specifically designed for professionals, employers, and job seekers. LinkedIn is a unique social media platform that allows you to create a resume-like profile, interact with others with similar interests and aspirations, and participate in online discussions. Like Facebook, you can ‘like’ and share information, but it mostly has to do with job searching, career training, and recruiting.
While online networking is great, it’s still important to meet people face to face, shake hands, and exchange information. By attending conferences, training events and job fairs you can put a real human face to a name. Even if these events are not mandatory, sign up, show up, and participate.
Always dress professionally when attending these types of events, and come prepared with notes and questions. By getting out there and meeting people and taking a genuine interest you’re showing others that you are confident, capable, and willing to learn.
Don’t Make Assumptions
When looking for talent don’t assume you will only find it from the top brass in an industry. Sometimes you can connect with the person you need in the most unlikely places. Don’t assume that the girl who makes your coffee at the café you frequent is uneducated – strike up a conversation. You may learn that she is a trained designer, writer, or web-developer who can help you with an upcoming project. Small talk with strangers can lead to some pretty meaningful connections.
It’s Not Always about Work
Your motives for networking don’t always have to be for your career or financial gain. Maybe you’re interested in picking up a new hobby and want to find someone local who can teach you. Maybe you have a unique or special skill that you can share with someone else who’s interested. Maybe you want to learn a new language, or play the guitar. Do you want to get more fit this year or train to run a marathon? Talk to people at the gym, or join groups and online forums for like-minded people. You never know who you might meet until you try.
Sometimes these personal connections can lead you to some interesting places, and end up helping your career as well.
In the end, networking is about connecting to the human side. Your resume and cover letter show if you are qualified or not on paper, but your drive, determination, and personality come out more when you interact.
Get out there and show off your potential!