Did you know that your chance of getting hired increases by 18% if someone within the organization refers you? At least 80% of available jobs are never advertised. They are either given to employees within the company or to those who have connections with the company. Many people resist networking because they don’t want to be annoying, pushy or self-serving, but if you make building relationships and connecting with people a part of your way of doing business, it will open a lot of doors for you. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Make a list of the people you know.
Start with your family, neighbours, acquaintances, classmates, friends and previous co-workers. You probably know more people than you realize. Your network can grow out of this list and you can use social media to extend your network even further.
Reach out to people.
Your network can’t help you if they don’t know that you’re looking for a job. Contact the people on your list and tell them what type of position you are seeking. It is important that you are clear about what you want so that they can make suitable referrals.
Improve your communication skills.
Strong communication skills are the key to networking success. Develop your listening skills and make an effort to be focused on the person you are speaking with. Also, be aware of your non-verbal communication as it hugely impacts the way that people perceive you.
Focus on the relationship.
With networking, the key is to actually connect with people. You should never look at people as a merely a networking contact. Make an effort to get to know them and be considerate of their needs. It is never appropriate to ask a networking contact for a job. Instead, ask them for advice and focus on building the relationship.
Not everybody is a natural networker. Some people find it more difficult than others. If you are a bit shy, start by volunteering at networking events. Sometimes being forced to talk to people makes it a little easier. Also, try connecting with people through social media. It might feel awkward at first, but if you stick with it, it will get easier.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)