With the national unemployment rate still hovering around 10 percent, networking is more relevant than ever for career development. Networking is something you should continually be doing. That means networking can't be something you put on a to-do list and check off once a month. With that in mind, the article offers five practical rules to become an expert networker, without looking desperate.
Most importantly, learn to nurture your network. The key to good networking is distinguishing it from asking for a job, a contact, or a personal favor. Networking by definition means talking to people when you don't need something. Keeping in touch is crucial, so that when you need someone, a follow-up isn't like an initial meeting. You should also keep your online profile active; you never know who's watching. Always ask how you can help others. Ask first not what your contact can do for you, but what you can do for your contact. Not only is it polite to ask about the other person, but also asking about them will send the signal that you have a peer-peer relationship, not a mentor-student one. Networking is about finding a win-win situation for all the parties involved in the connection.
Know when to ask and how. You needn't be afraid to ask for help after you've done your due diligence, but be conscious of your message. Be specific about your goals and create a personal brand, particularly if you're reaching out to many people at once. When you're not prepared and confident in your message, that's when you come across as desperate. Remember to make the Web work for you. The Web is the fastest-expanding arena for networking, with LinkedIn and Twitter leading the way. Candidates are using Facebook to promote new achievements, and even parlaying their Twitter accounts into full-time jobs. By following specific companies and individuals at those companies, you can start exchanging messages and lining up meetings and informational interviews. As crucial as it is to have an online presence, connecting in person can leave a more lasting impression, whether you set up an informational interview, or just meet for a coffee. Before you attend your next networking event, prepare your message, goals and research your audience.
View Full Article
No entries found