8 Networking Tips For Job Seekers
Whether you’re unemployed or would rather play in traffic than go to your current job, these networking tips can help lead you to greener pastures.
By Zack Zeigler
Networking is a chore, a pebble in your shoe, a rash on your … you get the idea. Too bad it’s a necessary evil if you want to get connected with people who can help you move further up the career ladder. And to improve as a networker, it’s going to take effort.
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“Learning how to network isn’t just for people who are unemployed,” says career coach Dana Manciagli, author of Cut the Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process for a New Era. “According to a recent Gallup pole, 70 percent of the workforce is disengaged and unhappy in their current jobs — and they’re not doing anything about it.”
If you’re one of those 70 percent it’s time dust off the apathy and level-up your job. And these tips we secured from Manciagli will help you do that. We went ahead and omitted common sense things, like make sure you have multiple copies of your résumé, a writing utensil and paper, and business cards to hand out. We assumed those were gimmes. If they weren’t, you’re hopeless and the rest of this article will do absolutely zero for you.
#1. TREAT NETWORKING LIKE YOU WOULD A SPORT
Most people don’t enjoy striking up conversations with strangers about their career path. If you do, you’re a weirdo. So learn to embrace the awkwardness or networking instead of allowing it to overwhelm you. “The more you network, the more comfortable it’ll become,” Manciagli says. “Don’t just walk up to someone and stand there like a fool. Be prepared with things to say and business cards.” Which leads us to …
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#2. BE ‘SURGICAL’ AND DIRECT
You’re there to get something from someone who is in a position to give you an assist — a new job opportunity, advice on a new career path, a valid excuse to wear your new tie. So don’t clam up when it’s time to speak up. “Be direct and specific with what you’re looking for,” Manciagli advises. “Don’t just rattle off your résumé, explain what you plan to do moving forward.” Also, work the room. Networking is a numbers game; the more people you talk to the more chances you have to score a follow-up meeting.