Everyone seems to be talking about networking these days. Those in the know believe that it’s the best route to finding a successful career and getting your foot in the door. Gone are the days of a decent resume and confident interview getting you the job of your dreams- getting out there and making connections is now the most straightforward route to employment opportunities. So how is it done?
Stay In Touch
Though you may have met plenty of people in college who you’d like to forget, maintaining relationships can pay off in the long run. Keep in touch with college professors, supervisors, colleagues and friends- you never know when these connections could serve you.
Got big ambitions and aspirations? Make them known. No one will know what you’re looking for unless you put it out there, so be open about your goals and passions. Ask around amongst family friends and talk to as many people as possible about your career aims.
Got some spare time? Volunteering at an organization related to the field you’re interested in is the perfect way to develop relationships and gain experience. You may also find yourself being offered a job at the organization once your enthusiasm and commitment has been demonstrated.
Say Thank You
If you’ve been referred to someone and had an interview or an informal chat, always send a follow-up email thanking the contact for their time and advice. This kind of politeness is always appreciated.
Get On LinkedIn
Most professionals use LinkedIn, a huge worldwide networking website that allows you to build you personal brand, manage your online presence and connect with others in your field. Most interviewers will check your LinkedIn to learn more about you, and you’ll find tons of connections through the site that could help you build your career.
Networking can be a challenge if you’re naturally a shy person, but with some practice and a little bit of acting here and there, you should be able to grow your professional persona. If you feel intimidated, try to hide it, and act like the professional you see yourself becoming.