Finding A Job Through Networking Groups
If you’ve never tried networking to find a job, you may find the prospect a little intimidating to start with. “Where do I start? Is it really polite for me to run around introducing myself to strangers to try to find a job?” These are the kinds of questions you probably are asking yourself. It’s important to remember however that you are not the only person who is in this situation, and networking is a very popular activity among professionals. In theory, it should be about building long-term professional relationships, so the potential payoff for everyone is higher than just you finding a job. That is why people who meet you may be willing to help you. One day, you may be able to help them with something they need. Here is what to do, step by step.
1. Look for opportunities to network. Do some research to see if there are any local professional associations for your occupation. If there are a lot of choices, pick a couple of them to focus on. Quality is more important than quantity, and spreading yourself thin will not help you out in the long run. Start attending meetings.
2. Come up with an introduction. What will you say when you meet people? You need to be ready to explain what you currently do and what you are looking to do in your future. If you aren’t currently employed, this is a good time to emphasize that you are searching for opportunity. You might also work in a brief mention of your past work, something which will prompt curiosity.
3. Buy business cards. There are a number of good deals on business cards online if you don’t plan to go fancy with them. You can hand these out when you meet new people. Ask for business cards from the people you meet.
4. Be alert for opportunities, and make your situation known. You won’t get anywhere if you continue to act like you’re in a vacuum. There is nothing wrong with letting the people you meet know that you need some assistance finding a position. If you are affable and professional, they will want to help you, especially if you take an interest in their work and find ways to offer value back in return for the assistance you are looking for.
Learn to treat your networking search as something more than a hunt for a job and a means to an end. You may actually make some great professional connections and even meet some real friends while you’re networking. If you behave as if that is your primary goal, people will see your sincerity and be more likely to like you and want to help you get back in the employment market.
Ask your connections if they know about any opportunities, and give them extra business cards to hand out if they find out about anything. Once you get to know some of your connections well, they may even give you a personal recommendation for a job opening.