There’s no substitute for face to face engagement, especially with a decision-maker. This could be in the form of an elevator pitch on how a relationship is mutually beneficial, or it could be simply befriending someone outside of the corporate environment. Because it’s true you never know who you’ll meet, it is important to always be prepared.
Whether it’s actively job-seeking or building connections for a possible move down the road, every event is a networking opportunity. Networking is the quickest way to build relationships, and relationships often lead to beneficial career steps, both the short and long term.
Some people have a natural charisma, a perpetual aura of success; then there’s everyone else. In case you weren’t voted “most likely to succeed” in high school along with the 99.9% of us, here’s a few tips on how to network no matter what setting you’re in.
- Be prepared. This sounds like a gross over-generalization, but it’s really not. People will judge you by your looks, whether it’s “right” or not. Use this to your advantage. Make sure your physical appearance is at least in line with the social setting (a notch above doesn’t hurt). Look polished and professional, even in jeans and a polo.
- Be subtle. Mentioning that you’re looking for a career change is worthwhile, when appropriate – but do not highlight – or even mention, if you can avoid it – that you’re out of work, even if you are. Market yourself as a professional who excels at what you do (without being arrogant) and develop the relationship with your contact before having that conversation.
- Everyone is a contact. This cannot be understated. Everyone down to the intern comes into contact with decision makers somewhere along the line, and you never know who may be where in two years, so connect with as many people as you can, and spend a little time developing all of them – within productive reason.
- Maintain your activity levels. If you act as if every event is a networking event, every event becomes one. It’s a habit, not a personality type (although being personable is certainly part of it). Change up your daily routine, go to places you don’t usually go and do things you don’t usually do. This puts you in new circles with diverse people.
- Stand out. Consider developing a unique trade mark. This could be a clothing item or a business card. This will be a sure way to help you stand out from a crowd. But be careful, there is a fine line between making an effort to stand out and being seen as contrived. A new connection might remember your name, and will most likely remember a face, but they will definitely remember something unusual.
Whether you’re looking for a career change or you’re a fresh graduate entering the workforce, creating your own networking events out of ordinary, mundane routines is a powerful tool.
Another powerful resource is a agency, and here at Cutting Edge Recruiting Solutions, that’s exactly what we do. We network. A lot. We maintain a massive database of both clients and candidates so we can match your unique skills and personality to your next IT career opportunity in South Florida, instead of a dead end job with whoever happens to be hiring. Contact us today to see how we can help you!