Written by Connie Huber, PHR SHRM-CP
Networking is a needed and necessary skill in today’s workforce. It is an effort that job seekers and professionals are encouraged to practice and turn into a proficiency. The goal of networking is to lead to new connections and opportunities. In a recent article by Diane Kulseth, there are “4 Networking Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making”.
Mistake #1: Talking about yourself ALL THE TIME
The Fix: Start listening. Find people with industries or careers of interest to you, and ask them questions such as: How did they get their start? What do they love about their jobs? What do they wish they could change?
Mistake #2: Expecting a Job
The Fix: Provide some value. Don’t ask for a job. Work for it! Research what your contact does in and out of work. Find ways to contribute your time and support. Volunteer at a non-profit. Provide a way your contacts can see you in a “working” light.
Mistake #3: Not saying Thanks
You attend a large event last week and grabbed coffee with one of your new professional contacts afterward. If you fail to show any gratitude, you risk leaving a negative impression.
The Fix: Just do it! Send a quick note to thank your contact for taking the time to meet with you. Thanking the person will validate your reputation as a courteous person and leave a good impression until the next meeting.
Mistake #4: Forgetting to follow up
Meeting someone is just the first step in networking. Lasting relationships need to be nurtured. Follow up every single time.
The Fix: Stay accountable. If you tell a network contact you will do something, do it. Networking isn’t a short-term gain, but about learning, growing and forming connections. Developing good social habits will improve your skills, increase opportunities and help to grow long term relationships.
Cary confirmed that most of us do not like networking. His goal was to share how to make a “uncomfortable situation more comfortable”.
Road to Success
In developing your network, there are several ways leading to your success.
- Get Out!
You will not meet anyone new if you don’t put in the effort. Get a better view of your worth to the world.
- Learn Something New!
When you are out in the world, even if you’re a little uncomfortable, you’re likely to learn some things you didn’t know when you woke up in the morning.
- Expand Your Pool of Contacts!
Far more effective than your resume or LinkedIn profile are the people who know and believe in you.
- Practice Telling Your Story!
If the only practice you get is in a high stakes job interview, is it any wonder you’re not better at telling your story?
- Have a game plan. Before attending a networking event, put together a strategy/plan. Who will be there? Who should you meet? How will you push yourself?
- Every interaction begins with….? Your name! Never, assume people remember you. Never, never say, “Remember me?”
- Keep an eye on the clock. For yourself. For others. For the star of the show.
- Don’t be a serial card dispenser. Make your interactions genuine. Listen more than you speak. Ask how you can help.
- Respect the promises you make. Make notes on those you meet. Follow up when appropriate. Few things are as effective as the handwritten thank you.
“The opposite of networking is NOT working” – Someone smart
Jamey shared with the group Five Financial Keys to a Successful Job Transition. These ideas include financial reality check, create income source, manage debt, maintain proper insurance coverage, Direct2MD and ask for help. Tom & Jamey offer 1- hour consultation, budget forms, 401k rollovers, financial planning and Direct2MD.
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Jessica Pierce, CEO/Founder of Career Connectors, closed the meeting by thanking Highlands Church & the volunteers. The next Career Connectors meeting will be in Gilbert on Thursday, May 28, 2018 & features Carl Forkner, as speaker for the topic “Career Organizer Toolkit”. For additional information on this event & future events, please visit the Event Schedule.