According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics networking is, by far, the most effective way to find a job.
This is great news for networkers, but perhaps not so great for the shy, retiring type. The best advice is – for anyone – is to start networking now with an eye toward the long term.
If you’re somewhat introverted, or don’t consider yourself a natural networker, keep these things in mind.
- Other people want to network too
- A little practice goes a long way
- Internet tools do much of the work for you
- Act like a host instead of a guest at social functions
- Open the door with your elbows
One of the best things to start with is the idea that others want to network too. This isn’t a dating game and people are generally receptive – its kind of an ‘in’ thing. And, like many activities, a little practice goes a long way. Using social network tools like LinkedIn, Facebook (or BranchOut), eliminates much of the administrative work and allows one to keep in touch with ease. This leaves you to focus on connecting with new people.
My best practice, learned at a networking seminar long ago, is to act like a host at parties instead of a guest. Greeting others, offering a drink, or pointing out the bathroom helps me be more gregarious and easier for other guests to connect with. Its far more effective than brooding in a corner. Another great approach is, what Tom Bodin of OI Partners says “Open the door with your elbows” – as if your carrying something and your hands are full – which is about bringing something to the party right off the bat. This is also about finding something in common, or might be as simple as knowing a good chiropractor in the area.
Networking is easier when you don’t need a job. And, as highlighted by the statistics, it is the best thing to do when you need a job.