Networking 101

Networking is one of the biggest components of the job search, but it’s one that many job seekers struggle learning. Many feel intimidated by the idea of introducing themselves to strangers and trying to impress these strangers enough to find a job lead. If you learn the basics of networking, it will become a lot less scary and more productive for your job hunt. Here are some networking basics that can help you maximize your job search by making new professional contacts:

Prepare

Do you have business cards and an elevator speech? If  not, you better get on that! If you’re going to a networking event, you need to be prepared with both business cards and an elevator speech describing who you are and what you do. Take time to prepare questions and small talk, too. If you’re nervous, being prepared will help your nerves and give you more confidence.

Be Proactive

Just like job opportunities, building a professional network does not just happen. You need to actively seek networking opportunities and take advantage of them. If you’re at a trade show, try to speak to different professionals. If you’re attending a conference, don’t just sit there – get up and interact with fellow attendees! Just like all other aspects of the job search, being proactive can make a big difference.

Socialize on Social Media

Social media is a great medium for networking. Reach out to professionals on these channels, especially LinkedIn, after you have met them at networking events. It’s an easy way to stay connected and grow the professional relationship.

Don’t Become a Pest

There’s a fine line between following up and becoming a pest. After you put such hard work into building your connections, the last thing you want to do is turn them away with one too many follow-up messages. Be cognizant of this when you’re reaching out to your network and use your best judgment with following up.

Networking is still one of the best ways to find job leads, get your foot in a company’s door and connect with possible employers. Yes, it can be intimidating and hard, but follow these basic tips to help you start becoming a networking pro!

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