NETWORKING GUIDE CONTRIBUTOR: CAREERS SERVICE, ANNA PERSSON

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1 NETWORKING GUIDE CONTRIBUTOR: CAREERS SERVICE, ANNA PERSSON

2 NETWORK YOUR WAY TO A JOB Networking is an important part of any job search. It s the process of establishing contacts for the purpose of gathering information, communicating your career goals, seeking advice, and obtaining leads on jobs. But if you re like most students the thought of networking could feel intimidating! And yet, it s true. Networking is your best return on investment when it comes to landing a job.

3 CONCRETE TIPS TO EXPAND YOUR NETWORK Networking is about people helping people. It s about actively creating and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with others, particularly those in your fields of interest. Networking is all about communication but it s not about selling. Create a list of primary contacts Your primary contacts are people you already know, family members and friends for example. Let them know about your career goals and ask them whether they know of anyone who works in your area and who might be helpful in your job search. Create new contacts Get in touch with the contacts family and friends have referred to you. Tell them about your career goals, skills and experiences. You can also create new contacts by joining professional associations and organizations, attend career-related event and by volunteering or doing an internship.

4 CONCRETE TIPS TO EXPAND YOUR NETWORK Arrange information interviews Information interviewing is meeting someone currently working for an organization, or in an occupation of interest, in order to increase your knowledge of the career you are targeting. It also helps grow your contacts in that field. You can also do an information interview on the phone, but even better if you meet in person. Follow up The importance maintaining and caring about relationships cannot be overstated, as many people neglect this step. If you haven t talked to someone in a very long time, it can feel awkward asking them for a favor when you haven t done anything to maintain the relationship in the meantime.

5 CONCRETE TIPS TO EXPAND YOUR NETWORK Say Thank You! Also make sure to thank people at every opportunity you have. Let them know if you have met with someone they introduced you to and let them know how it went. I you share your success and progress and say thank you, these people are more likely to help you again. Also remember to give back when you can. Tip! Be proactive in seeking information and creating contacts. The more people who know about you and the kinds of positions you are interested in, the better.

6 GET COMFORTABLE WITH NETWORKING Career success depends partially, at least on your ability to create relationships and make connections. In other words, networking. Networking comes naturally to some people but can be challenging for introverts. The good news is that introverts can be just as effective, successful and socially able as extroverts.

7 PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP YOU NAVIGATE NETWORKING EVENTS MORE SUCCESSFULLY Find out who is attending Find out in advance, if possible, who else will be there. You can deliberately seek out people you re most interested in talking with. This strategy is useful for everyone, but it especially allows introverts to use their time most efficiently. Introductions If you re uncomfortable approaching someone directly, ask the host or organizer to make introductions. Volunteer If possible volunteer on the welcoming committee having a specific function makes it easier to talk to people and gives you a purpose as you attend to the needs of other guests.

8 PRACTICAL TIPS Start a conversation Prepare some conversation starters and questions beforehand. To start a conversation, make small talk about the event and/or the speaker. This is a great way to build rapport. Keeping up-to-date with current trends and reading the newspapers daily before going to such events could serve as an important tool when networking. Prepare your introduction Prepare (and practice) your own brief introduction. When you prepare your introduction ask yourself the following questions: Who am I? What do I offer? What problem is solved? What are the main contributions I can make? What should the listener do as a result of hearing this?

9 PRACTICAL TIPS Ask questions Getting people to talk about themselves is a good way of getting them to open up. By asking questions you accomplish several important things at the same time. Use open-end questions in your networking conversations. Open-end questions are the ones that can t be answered with a simple yes or no. Ask questions starting with who, what, where, when and how. This type of questioning opens up the conversation and it shows the listeners that you are interested.

10 PRACTICAL TIPS Be memorable Bring business cards - there are a number of online services where you can order business cards at a fairly cheap price. Arrival Arrive early before crowds arrive this helps people who are shy to find others to talk with before little groups are formed. Bring a friend Knowing there s someone in the room who will be happy to include you in a conversation can take the pressure off. If the friend is more of an extrovert than you are, he or she may help make introductions for you.

11 PRACTICAL TIPS Be a good listener If you happen to be more of an introvert you probably have good listening skills. Listening is an excellent way to get to know a person and listening for the needs and problems of others give you the opportunity to recognize also how you can help others. Talk to many or only a few Don t try to talk to everyone instead, set a goal, some number of people that you think you can reasonably talk with. If you have a list of people attending, target a couple of people that are of special interest to you. If you happen to see someone standing alone, looking a bit lost, go and talk to them. They may be shy or introvert and will most likely be grateful for you taking the initiative.

12 PRACTICAL TIPS Follow up Send an or call the people you met and acknowledge the conversation you had. Perhaps send information or suggest resources in follow-up to what you learned about their needs or goals. You can also suggest an in-depth conversation over coffee or lunch, if you feel it s appropriate to ask. Do it your way Have an open mind and show a genuine interest in the people you meet. Networking is vital and you will need to build, develop and nurture your relationships but you can do this on your own terms. Occasionally, you ll need to step outside your comfort zone but you don t have to be a super-connector to be a success.

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