You’ve submitted your resume 15 times, sent out the politest thank you emails, but you still can’t find that edge. Something seems to be missing. You rack your brain until it hits you, Networking! All this time you researched the job and made sure it was right for you and paid you enough and was in the right city, you forgot about the people! There are people at that job who you need to talk to and get to know!
This is not some pseudo-science or a reason to take trip to Diagon Alley (Harry Potter fans know what I mean), it’s just networking. It’s something anyone can do, and you don’t need a LinkedIn account to do it (though that can help). Networking at its core is just talking to people with a purpose. It’s not fishing for people with ulterior motives. If this all still sounds a bit strange to you, start with my first tip on how to start networking.
Start at Home
Beggars cannot be choosers. When beginning your venture into networking, begin with those close to you. Usually, they have your best wishes at heart and are willing to go out of their way to help you. You may not think of your parents as capitals of industry, but they have most likely put years of dedication into their respective fields. They have met many people, learned from even more people and definitely have some stories they would like to share about their work history.
Even your friends can serve as hubs of opportunity. The moment you start seeing people as more than what they are, you see the potential they bring to life. Use that inspiration to find a goal together. You may think you only know your manager from the Restaurant and that English teacher who you were fond of. Take a step into their lives and let them open up to you. The connections will astonish you. It’s a small world, after all.
Have a Goal, but be Genuine
The last thing you want to do is make a meaningful connection and waste their time. Are you looking for a job? Just trying to get some information? It is imperative that you have a specific goal in mind. This will help you with what you ask your connection, how you help them and what you tell them about yourself. Do some research. Exactly how can you help this person and how can they help you?
In all of your planning though, don’t forget to be genuine. This is not a transaction. You are building a relationship that is mutually beneficial. You should get to know each other, learn from each other and help one another reach your goals.
Say Thank You
You’ve made a new friend, learned about a new position, and have a strong connection within the company that may lead to others. You’re good to go, right? Not quite. Say thank you!
Networking isn’t over once you reach your goal. As I said before, networking is not a transaction. This relationship must keep growing and evolving and leading to other relationships. Follow up frequently and effectively. Whether it be an email, phone call or a quick coffee date. Be genuinely interested in who you network with and they will notice and be appreciative.
Make strong connections and build meaningful relationships. One will lead to the other and soon enough people will be pulling your ear to meet the up and comers in business.
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