One of the hardest parts of searching for jobs is finding the who, what, when, how and why. To successfully network, you need to have multiple conversations that will move you closer to a job. What? You haven't networked? Then you may have one of these problems:
1. You don't go out to meet new people. Your list of 10 people you know is not enough. Not only do you not call them, but you haven't talked to them in ages. Use that list of 10 to lead you to at least one person they know, and so on. It doesn't hurt to attend an event that allows you to have productive conversations. Consider that "everywhere is networking and networking is everywhere!" Running errands at the store, movies, dry cleaning, barber shop, beauty salons, Panera Bread, The Corner Bakery, walking the dog and the playground with the kids are networking spots. It's a lifestyle...and an adventure.
2. You vehemently oppose social networking. There are enough stories on the web about people connecting to get jobs, business opportunities and information now for you to throw caution to the wind...well, kind of. Yes, be shrewd about who you connect and give information to. As a whole, DO NOT fear using social sites as a tool to meet people. You can be old school all you want, but the lack of use of social networking tools will leave you irrelevant and unemployed. Why not use every possible means of communication to meet new people.
3. Gimme, gimme, lemme, gimme. In case you haven't figured it out, the reason people may be apprehensive about helping you is that you don't reciprocate. Sometimes this means giving first and not receiving at first. What value is it to network with you if you don't give. If you desire effectiveness, take this approach: It's hardly about you and more about everyone else. Trust me, people will notice and will offer before you ask. It just takes a little time.
4. Waiting for that special feeling. There is not a right time other than to always remain networking even when a job is not on the chopping block. An emotional feeling is not the best way to network. It's a necessity to network. It's a job to network. It's a decision to network.
5. Too quick to pull the trigger. Are you asking for help before getting to know someone? Not cool. You will chase others that can help you away. It's already happened. You pass out business cards like they are flyers for a skating party. Or you ask so fast that you have forgotten who you asked about job leads. Cultivate a relationship first and eventually good connections will come when there is an exchange of information, leads and contacts.
6. It is not always who you know. Sometimes a contact person can tell you what the position is like and who has thrived and why. When you are looking to change careers, finding people who are successful at what you desire to do gives you vision. He or she can also forward to you the training, education or certification information required in sustaining your career.
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