Sunday, January 2, 2011

Make Networking Work for You in 2011

Are you are someone who says, “I HATE networking”? Why? Maybe you feel intimidated, are too shy, lack confidence, or do not know what to say.

In addition to getting someone you know to introduce you to someone you do not know, networking means you do the same for other people. As you network, keep in mind jobs for which other people are looking. You may be able to help some of them get a new job or career. They may return the favor in the future!

Whether you like to or not, networking is a crucial component in career success. We promise, the more networking you do, the easier it becomes! So get out there and start now! The sooner you start, the sooner you are able to do it with ease. Here we offer tips for taking the “work” out of networking!

Networking is Easy! Just Remember, “Own It”!

Objective: Set your objective. Meet (X) number of people in (X) amount of time (per day/week/month) and swap (X) number of business cards.
When/Where: Schedule informal meetings with them including an agenda (talking points). Prepare a “script” to make speaking via phone more comfortable.
Notify: Notify them of your goals, skills, experience and accomplishments.
Inquire: Ask for advice, information and contacts. Do not ask directly for a job!
Take Away: Obtain at least two more names from them that you can contact.

• Update your resume and have it ready to distribute! If you do not have them already, get business cards. Sign up for deal alerts on VistaPrint.com, wait for Vista Print to offer a free business card deal, and order them!

• Be clear about who you are and what you want.
○ If you are wishy-washy when people ask what kind of job you are looking for, it only makes it harder for them to help you.
○ Never respond with, “I’ll do any job!” It not only makes you look desperate, but unsure about your career.
○ If your job preferences vary between industries, that is OK.
○ Determine if there is anything you are willing to compromise. (Perhaps, relocation?)

• Make sure your online marketing tools (e.g., Facebook or MySpace) are cleaned up and employer-ready. You do not want a potential employer to see something on your social networking sites that might land you in trouble.

• First tell the people closest in your life that you need a job. You gain the confidence to approach others later. Inform parents, siblings, parent’s friends, professors, career services at your college, past colleagues and bosses. Set up a face-to-face meeting to show that you are taking your networking seriously. This also helps them remember to mention you when they encounter a prospective employer.

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