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Musings About Networking

It’s one job search skill you must master

➔ Networking. You know that you must do it. And, the better you are at it, the more likely you’ll find the job you want and all the good things that go with it. But it can be so-o-o-o difficult. True.

Here are some random thoughts regarding networking that we’ve picked up along the way.

Why are you there?

Your parents probably told you – and you, in turn, probably told your kids – don’t talk to strangers. Well, news flash, virtually everyone attending that same event where you are will be a stranger. And that’s not a bad thing. You’re all in the same boat; you’re there to meet people and to begin building relationships.

Another thought: most everyone there probably doesn’t know anyone either and may be just as apprehensive as you – and maybe more so.

At a networking event you most likely won’t have a lot of time to spend with any one person. So you need to maximize your impact in a relatively short period of time. With that in mind, any mixed and/or mangled message will reflect badly on you. It might suggest that you’re not prepared or that you haven’t paid close enough attention to detail – all reasons for someone to form a negative opinion of you.

The solution? Practice. Practice. Practice. Make certain that you have your elevator speech well prepped and rehearsed. The same is true for career high points that you might want to have at the ready. Believe it or not, job fairs are excellent places to fine tune your messages. Try them on people with companies where you might not be inerested. Dress rehearsal: practice one last time in the car as you drive to the event.

One more thing that you probably got from your parents: better safe than sorry. In the world of the job seeker, how untrue. When you’re trying to make connections at a networking event, you need to take some risks if you want to be successful.

The perfect response to safe and sorry is another gem from the world of cliches: No pain, no gain. If you expect to gain something from the networking event, sometimes you have to stick your neck out.

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