How to network your way to a new job
Is your New Year’s Resolution to find a new job? You’re not alone. In fact, research shows that 47% of Australians are looking for a new job in 2017. With so many Australians also in the market for a new job, you have to do everything to stand out from the crowd. Get your career off to a flying start in 2017 with these networking tips.
Get organised before you go
Before you throw yourself head first into a long list of networking events, take the time to think about your priorities and what you want to achieve from every event. It could be meeting people at a particular company you are interested in, or perhaps you want to learn something new and broaden your knowledge base.
Also think about who you attend the event with. While it’s always nice to have a friend or colleague as a safety blanket, consider heading along alone. It will force you to get out of your comfort zone and make the most of the event, avoiding the temptation of hiding in the corner with the free canapés.
Look outside events in your own industry
Some of the best networking events I have ever been to I was completely the odd one out. It was great, because I learned heaps, met some really interesting people and was the extra bit memorable, because I was that little bit different.
If you are looking for a career change, attending events in different industries isn’t just a great way to build your networks; it’s also a great way to start identifying the transferable skills you have. Sign up for events in the industry you are interested in and make the effort to find out as much as you can about the other people at the event and their role. Tell them you are looking for a change and ask for their advice, you never know where this might lead you!
Nail your elevator pitch before you go
Walking into a room full of strangers can be intimidating. Particularly if you are an introvert, it can be hard not to walk straight back out!
Getting your elevator pitch down pat before you go to a networking event is key to alleviating some of the awkwardness you might feel when you go to an event. Think about who you are and what you offer. What makes you unique? What are you passionate about? Also think about the other attendees at the event: will they appreciate your industry jargon, or should you talk more generally about your skills and role?
Focus on sharing knowledge and learning something new
While this may seem counter intuitive, when you enter the room, take the focus off finding a new job and be in the moment, ready to learn. If you are desperately seeking an opportunity from a particular event, your interactions may feel forced and block a good discussion. Talk to people and ask for their advice. If you goal is making genuine connections, you should feel more at ease instead of feeling like you are on display.
Don’t stop the conversation after you leave the room
One of the hardest things about networking is how to stay on someone’s radar after you have met them. If you have a great chat, or think there might be a good opportunity with a new connection you meet, it’s really important that you take the lead and keep the conversation rolling.
If it helps take quick notes on your phone, or on a business card to keep key points fresh in your memory after an event. This will help you be more specific when you follow up after the event, and avoid having to send a generic follow up email.
What's your best job hunting tip? I'd love to hear it - comment below or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[A version of this post first appeared on the Firebrand Talent blog]