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What Are We Trying to Accomplish Here?

Networker: Know thyself!

➔ Virtually all experts agree that networking is an essential cog in the wheel of your job search. We, of course, agree as well.

Aside from the obvious (“I want a job!”), what are you trying to accomplish through your networking? Is it possible to have different goals and aims at different networking events? The answer to the second question is, “Yes!”

Some questions are easier than others

But the first question is perhaps one of the more important questions you’ll have to answer as you embark on your job search journey. As the second question suggests, the first question may demand more thought than you initially thought.

For those who last searched for a job more years ago than they care to admit, the notion of a room full of strangers – most of whom are already employed and don’t want to be bothered by someone “in transition” – can be overwhelmingly intimidating. That individual’s goals for that networking event may be very specific and very different from a veteran networker.

Until you become comfortable with the whole networking scene, your goal(s) may be to simply attain that comfort level. You may want to practice your elevator speech on several different people to see how it plays. Refining your elevator speech would be a laudable goal.

Just becoming comfortable in a room full of strangers is an important goal. Building the confidence in yourself to approach someone and initiate a conversation is an important building block.

Of course, if you’re an old hand at networking, your aspirations may be very different. If you know how to “work a room,” your goal(s) – aside from the obvious – may be to make contact with someone in a particular industry or at a particular company.

One thing that experienced networkers know is that it’s not who you know, it’s who you know knows. That person, once removed, may hold the key to your next position. And that person may not attend networking events, but people who know that individual do attend. And therein, lies your connection.

Depending on your situation and your circumstances, your networking goals may be very different. But here’s the key: being aware of those circumstances will enable you set networking goals that are realistic, pertinent, and a good return on your investment of time and effort.


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