Networking is simple and fun! Both in person and on line!
But you do need to make the most of your networking efforts
** DO **
- Adopt the right attitude about networking. It is about meeting people and finding out how you can help them or they can help you. It is not just about how you alone can benefit.
- Listen and learn - many people love to talk about what they do, you might just find out how you can work together with them
- Your homework prepare ahead by asking yourself: who do you want to meet and what you would like to achieve from the networking event?
- Think before you speak. Present your thoughts and ideas clearly.
- Follow up make the effort to follow up promptly after meeting the person you want to get to know. Drop him/her a note or an email within the same day, if possible, to make a first impression that lasts.
- Think of a system for organising your network contacts, notes and follow-up activities, whether a spreadsheet on your computer, a file box of index cards, a folder, or whatever works for you.
- Use a variety of sources to build up your database of contacts
- Use formal language when you are contacting someone by email (eg “i” instead of “i”)
- Develop electronic networking skills. Visit chat groups or message boards that pertain to a career area. Take special interest in those run by professional associations
- Show gratitude be courteous. Thank the person who gave you a referral. A little gesture goes a long way.
** DON'T **
- Ask for a job straight away – it may put some people off!
- Allow yourself to become discouraged by anyone’s comments, failure to respond, or rejection. There are plenty of other people you have access to, each with an opinion, some information, or an opportunity that may be more helpful.
- Expect instant results from your contacts. Be patient. It usually takes a while before people are comfortable enough to offer you a referral.
- Take short-cuts. A written approach letter (or email, where appropriate) will introduce you more effectively than phone calls to people you don’t know.
- Choose a networking group by its size. It is not the quantity, but the quality of contacts that the group can offer you.
- Dish out your business card to people before a conversation occurs. Get to know them first, and vice versa, before giving them your card.
- Offer unsolicited opinions before you know the other party’s opinions, stay within neutral territory with yours, so as not to put yourself in a potentially awkward situation.
- Be shy don't turn aside compliments – that insults the giver. Acknowledge the person by saying "thank you"
- Ask for more than what people can give. People generally avoid takers.