We are all looking for ways to grow; finding different ways to expand and build our circles/networks. However, the problem for many job-seekers, though, is not so much in understanding the extreme importance of networking, but in the execution of networking. More specifically, job-seekers wonder, where do all these networking contacts come from — and how can one get people to be part of their network? The key point to remember is that networking is relationship-building. Your network consists of people you’ve met (either in person or online) — and you build your network by going out and meeting more people. Here are some amazing techniques on how you can build and expand your network.
- You can begin by asking your current network for referrals
There is no easier way to expand your network than simply asking your current friends, family, and associates for the contact information of others whom they think would be beneficial for you to know. The “friend-of-a-friend” connection is quite strong and usually very successful. You can start with, “who else should I be talking to’?
- Second technique will be joining a professional or trade organizations
Remember the adage, birds of the same feather flock together? There is no better method of finding people who share the same professional interests and goals than joining one or more industry organizations. Membership means access to the membership list, which can open up many new prospective network contacts.
- Attending professional meetings, expos, shows and such…
The good thing with these meetings and conferences is that there will be a chance to encounter new people and opportunities. Seek out peers as well as more experienced members, even speakers or facilitators, to add to your network.
- Offer to volunteer
The gesture of providing time and effort to a needy cause is perhaps one of the strongest venues for networking. This for the reason that you are working side-by-side with people, who share the same your passion for helping others-but often overlooked by job seekers either too busy or too focused on finding industry contacts. Find an organization that needs your help (and there are many) and start volunteering.
- Make efforts to attend networking events
This technique is a no-brainer for adding more people to your network contacts to your network of contacts. Be on the lookout for various groups holding networking events. These are groups include colleges, professional and industrial organizations and such.
- You can contact former professors, college alumni association and such
One of the strongest ties that help in building new and strong network contacts is sharing the bond of a college or university. Making additional contacts with people affiliated with your college gives you a solid base of shared experiences — and a strong connection to build upon.
- Join or increase your activities on social and professional networking sites
Once you’re a member of Facebook, LinkedIn, or a similar networking site, you’ll immediately be provided with strategies for adding friends or connections, such as reconnecting with people who attended the same schools. Usually electronic connections are not nearly as strong as personal connections, but that should not stop you from at least trying this technique. You can use your virtual connections to speed the wheels toward face-to-face meetings. Always remember to develop and keep a professional profile on these sites.
- Join or start a job club
In some ways, a job club is the ultimate networking experience because the people you meet there all have shared experiences and the desire for a new job. Run the right way, a job club is a very positive and rewarding experience, a chance to help yourself and others.
- You can conduct informal interviews
There is no better strategy for entry-level job-seekers and career-changers to find and add people to your professional network than to conduct several informational interviews. As the name implies, it’s an interview you initiate with someone in your profession/industry whose brain you can pick about how s/he got their start, moved up the ladder, and so forth.
- Keep in touch with your former co-workers, customers, clients
Many times as we move from job to job, employer to employer, we lose touch with former co-workers, customers, and the like. These people all had a relationship with you before and could again — you simply need to reconnect with them.
In conclusion, remember networking is a reciprocal relationship. You may be seeking help uncovering job leads today, but tomorrow someone in your network may be asking for your help. Never be afraid to ask people in your network for help; don’t ask them to get you a job, but do ask them for possible leads, other people they know that you might add to your network and any advice or other information you seek. When meeting people for the first time, don’t make it all about you; ask about the other person and what s/he does for a living. And, always be prepared for networking — the opportunity to meet someone can happen literally anywhere… and that could change your life for good.
Source : Ethiojobs