Networking is probably the most effective way to find a job. Unfortunately, many job seekers do not take advantage of this strategy. If you are not actively networking, then you are significantly limiting how successful you can be with your job search. Here are some common reasons that job seekers neglect networking and why you shouldn’t let them stand in your way.
Too shy. There’s no doubt about it; networking can be intimidating, particularly if you are a quieter type of person. However, it may feel less scary if you remember that networking is just talking to people. It is hard to take the first step, but once you initiate contact the conversation takes on a life of its own.
Not enough time. We’re all busy and if you’re like most people, you are not magically going to have time to network; you need to make time. Building a vibrant network is one of the best things that you can do for your career, so it is important that you make it a priority.
Already have a job. Most people are less motivated to network when they are already working. If you are happy in your job, it doesn’t feel as important to get out there and make connections. It seems to make more sense to wait until you’re actually looking for work. However, it is often said that the best time to build a well is when you’re not thirsty. The same is true for networking. The best time to grow your network is when you don’t need anything from it.
Don’t know how. The concept of networking can feel overwhelming, but the reality is that it’s quite simple. You need to meet people and build relationships with them. To get started, make a plan of who you would like to meet. Next find networking events and other opportunities to meet people in your industry. Once you start making connections, follow up on them so that you truly allow your relationships to grow.
Networking is not just another tool in your job search tool box. It is an approach that will stay with you as your career grows. If you embrace it and build it into your routine, you will be surprised by the places it takes you.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)