Guest post by Michelle Noel. Michelle is a native Nashvillian whose work supports leaders across all industries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmichellenoel/
Whether your goal is to grow your business or land a new job, networking is a valuable tool many people neglect. Let’s look at some reasons it’s effective and how you can use it to build a better network for your job search.
Letting others speak for you
Your resume is a valuable tool, but letting other people talk about your skills and experience is even more so (this is where personal branding comes in!).
People trust the opinion of those they know and are more likely to take action on their words than they are after reading the credentials of a stranger.
If you have ever asked for the name of a good handyman or plumber from a friend, you are already practicing networking!
It’s not always who you know
It’s great to have friends and contacts you can rely on, but you can go a step further by letting them know you are actively networking and asking them to keep an ear to the ground for opportunities that may help you.
So often, it’s not who you know, but who they know that can help boost your career.
Where to build a better network
First, think of the places you go on a regular basis. Church? The gym? Your dentist? Let those people know what your goals are and ask them for referrals to people they may know.
When I lived in New Orleans, a librarian friend told me the community college was hiring. She called a friend there and I was invited to interview. Two weeks later I was offered the job.
Take advantage of social networks
Meetup.com is a website for people to meet others near them with similar interests. You’ll likely find groups there whose sole purpose is networking. It’s free and gets you connected with new people in your community.
Are you on Facebook, Instagram, or other social platforms? Let your followers know you are looking for work or trying to grow your business. They may know someone who knows someone.
Some final tips to build a better network
- Keep your personal business cards handy. You never know who you will meet while you are going about your day.
- Attending a networking event? Arrive dressed as if you are going to an interview. First impressions are crucial.
- If the meeting is at a venue with alcohol, consider having a sparkling water with lime or some other non-alcoholic drink. It’s important to be at your best when meeting new people.
- Running errands? While you don’t always need to dress as if you’re going to work, be sure you’re neat and tidy with your business cards on hand. You may stumble across an opportunity while you are out. I have given out quite a few personal cards to people I have met while out during the day. Two of them resulted in my making connections and one of those resulted in an interview.
Networking is as easy as having a conversation with a friend. Don’t forget to keep it in your collection of career-building tools!
For more networking tips, get my latest e-book Secrets to Networking With Ease and Confidence for free when you purchase my on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively.