As a women's career coach, I understand that networking can be complex. It can be uncomfortable and feel weird, especially at first. However, it is one of the best tools to land a new job. For many of my clients, finding a new career or returning to the workforce is a top priority, and networking can open doors to new opportunities that might be otherwise out of reach. A strong professional relationship can even inspire someone to create a position that fits you (I had that happened to my clients) or deliver your resume to the hiring manager's desk, making you look like the cherry on top of the cake and potentially getting you into that dream position.
But how often do we know that it could be good for us, but we don't do it anyway?
As a career coach, I would put networking on top of your list when you look for a job.
To make it easier for you and get the most out of your networking efforts, I have compiled a list of ten tips for networking your way to a new career.
Start by defining your goals and understand what job you are looking for. What are you looking for in your next career? What are your skills and experience? In my book "I Know What You Need To Succeed," I offer a great exercise to help you define your talents and skills. Once you know what you want, you can start to identify where is your target market for job hunting.
Do your research. Look into different industries and companies to see where you might find the best networking opportunities. That way, you can make sure you're connecting with the right people and making the most of your time and effort. Find out what networking events they offer and how to get into the next one.
Attend and understand industry events. This is a great way to meet people in your wanted field and learn about new opportunities. Look for conferences, workshops, and meetups that are relevant to your targeted areas.
Use Social Media: Social media is a powerful tool for networking. Use platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with others in your wanted career. Get involved in conversations and comments. Please make sure to stay profecional. Facebook groups for relevant industries can be another way to get to know people. These groups can be a great way to find job leads.
Join Professional Associations: Professional associations like the City Chamber of Commerce provide a great way to meet business owners and representatives who might like your personality and offer you their next available position.
Volunteer: I know you might say I am looking for a paid job, not for charity. But hear me out. Volunteering is a great way to meet others who share your interests and values. On top of that, usually, people who do volunteering are firmly established in their careers and offer their time to support others. You might be surprised to meet your future boss at one such event.
Be Prepared: When attending events or meeting with others, be prepared to talk about yourself and your career goals. Have a clear understanding of what you are looking for in your next career move. And that was our tip #1. Know what you want and be ready to sell yourself (I mean your skills and experience).
Be yourself, positive and persistent. Don't try to be someone you're not when you're networking. People can spot a fake a mile away. Remember, building genuine relationships and making meaningful connections is key. Networking takes time and effort. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Stay confident in your abilities and stay open to opportunities that come your way. Keep putting yourself out there and eventually, you'll start to make connections that lead to your dream job.
Follow up with your contacts. One of the biggest mistakes people make after a networking event is staying quiet and hoping people will remember you or what you talked about. Don't wait for too long after you made a connection. Reach out to that person by email or by phone. And when you do remember tip #7
Hire a life and career coach: The coach can provide valuable guidance and advice as you navigate your job search. Look for a coach you connect with and have a right feeling that it is what you need.
I understand that networking may not be everyone's favorite activity, especially for introverts like myself. But believe me, speaking from my own experience. Event and networking is one of the best places to find business and it is so far one of the most effective ways for my clients to find their next dream position. So if you didn't network yet, don't wait any longer and start today!