Nervous about networking? Get some helpful advice and tips from Mildred Talabi, to find out further just read on!
About the Author
Mildred Talabi is the founder of CV Makeover Expert.com and the author of 7 Keys to a Winning CV: How to create a CV that gets results. Mildred trained as a journalist and worked for various publications, including The Guardian newspaper, before “accidentally” embarking on a career in CV and career advice. Today she spends most of her time delivering career talks, seminars and workshops to students and graduates, and writing a weekly blog on career issues and job hunting tips and techniques, which you can subscribe to (for free) on her website www.mildredtalabi.com and receive a free 45-minute audio download on ‘how to land that job with a winning CV’.
8 tips for effective networking
There’s something about walking into a room full of strangers that can bring out the inner introvert in even the most confident of us, but yet networking remains a vital tool that you can’t ignore if you want to succeed in today’s job market. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”, still rings true today.
Successful networking is all about building and developing close relationships with people, some of whom may end up having a direct impact on your career. The good news is networking isn’t just restricted to uncomfortable face-to-face events; increasingly online networking, via social media, is proving just as valuable as a means of building and nurturing those all-important relationships.
If you have yet to explore networking as a means of boosting your career, I would highly recommend the book Teach Yourself Successful Networking in a Week which provides excellent coverage on all the basics of networking and how you can make it work for you.
For now, here are eight tips for effective networking on and off line:
1. Network outside of your network – connect with people from different backgrounds and different fields for a much richer networking experience (social media facilitates this well).
2. Go to networking events alone – this will force you to talk to people instead of clinging on to your mate all night.
3. Prepare your face-to-face ‘elevator pitch’ in advance – this is essentially the first two or three sentences you say when you meet someone for the first time. You should be able to sum up who you are, what you do and what you would like to do in no more than 30 seconds. So for example, “My name is Jane and I currently work in housing as a Sales Officer but I would really like to move on to a more senior role in housing management.” Sharing this information with the right person could get you your next job.
4. Always carry your business cards – you never know who you’ll meet and where so always carry your business cards with you, ready for when opportunity comes knocking. The good news is you don’t have to spend a lot of money on business cards these days – you can find some really good deals online, including free business cards from sites like Vistaprint.
5. Follow up contacts immediately – take a business card from everyone you speak to and always follow up as close to the event as possible with a “lovely to meet you, let’s stay in touch” email – even if they have no direct link to your job search right now. If you make a habit of expanding your network and being nice to people you meet along the way, you never know when it might come in useful for your next step up the career ladder.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask – if you need advice from someone in your network, or perhaps an introduction to someone else, just ask! Most people like to help (when asked nicely).
7. Give something back where possible – it could be a referral, forwarding an article of interest to your contact, or simply retweeting their tweets. Networking relationships work best when they are mutually beneficial so don’t just focus on what you can get, make sure you’re giving to the relationship too.
8. Do stay in touch – “out of sight, out of mind” – keep your networks fresh by staying in touch; this could be an email now and again, a tweet mention, LinkedIn message, or (where appropriate), a phone call.
Once you utilise the power of networking by getting to know people in and out of your industry, you may find connections you make today will pay off later on in life.
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