Networking is an essential part of your job search. If you are serious about getting a job–you should be using every opportunity to network and going to networking specific events. There are many organizations that set up networking events which include your local chamber of commerce. It’s also a good idea to create your own networking event if you are really ambitious!
Regardless, the key to attending a networking event isn’t about asking or necessarily trying to find a job (well, you don’t want to make it too obvious) it’s about building and growing your professional network. The more people that know you especially on a personal level (and if you start to build a good relationship with them) they are more likely to take an interest in your job search.
More listening, Less talking
It’s very easy to talk about ourselves and what we’re doing! The next networking event you attend try to consciously think about letting others speak. These networking events are goldmines in respect to finding and talking to people who have a wealth of life and business experience. Sometimes it might even be a great idea to ask if it’s ok to write down some of things they are saying. Remember to listen and make sure to follow up with the people you meet after the event.
Be part of the event!
Going to a networking event is good so how about thinking outside the box and asking if the organisers need some help? If they say yes, take the opportunity to learn about the event and who is coming. Be an integral part of a networking event can open more doors then you expect especially with the professionals who are setting it up.
Bring a pen and a notebook because you will get more out of the event if you write notes. Writing won’t only jog your memory after the event is over, it will stimulate your mind with new ideas! It will also give people at the event the impression (and rightly so) that you are interested in what they are saying. You never know what pearls of wisdom will be shared with you at these types of events.
What can you offer?
Every professional you come to contact with at a networking event is a chance for you to help them. Everyone is looking for help even they aren’t asking for it. Be attentive and listen for opportunities–you will be surprised how many people you will find that need a solution to one of their problems and maybe you can use your talents and skills to help them out!
Image: Chelsea Ouellet