No matter what industry you’re in or how far along in your career you are, networking is a skill that will always be important. Especially when you’re looking for a job.
Over the years, networking techniques have shifted to accommodate our new digital world and all the changes that come with it. That being said, it can be hard to know which networking trends to follow and which ones to leave behind. That’s where we come in.
As a job marketplace that focuses on getting early-career candidates hired, we know what it takes to land the job of your dreams. And we also know everything that comes before it, including effective networking.
But now the question begs – what does it take to be good at networking?
Before the elevator pitch, before you shake hands, before you even say hello, you need to be prepared to have a conversation that’s going to leave an impact. While you don’t always get to choose the time, place, or person you get to network with, you can still be prepared to have an insightful exchange.
For example, it is always important to stay on top of trending news and topics in your industry. Knowing what’s going on will help you fill the conversation and bring up relevant points for discussion. In the case that you do know the person you’re going to be chatting with, make sure you’re up to date on who they are, what they do, and who they do it for.
While you might be eager to make your pitch or ask your question, one of the most important tips for networking is to listen. Depending on what your end goals are, you may be motivated to network to score a job, learn more about a field, or expand your contacts. But there is no reason why you can’t do all three if you follow this one rule.
No one wants to talk to a person who won’t let them get a word in. Plus, the more you talk, the less time they have to give you tips, information, and insight that might improve the trajectory of your professional career.
In addition to listening, you need to be able to ask questions as they pertain to what you are discussing. If you have a really good question that you’ve been sitting on, feel free to ask. But asking questions that guide the natural flow of the conversation will not only garner you more information, it will make things more enjoyable for both people as well.
Some examples of questions you could ask include things like their opinion on how things are going in the industry or on certain news topics, where they would like to see the company in five or more years, and anything else that makes you seem passionate about the work you’re going to be doing. Again, use this as a time to learn information as much as you use it as a time to make an impression.
Use the Internet!
As creepy as it may sound, it’s pretty easy to find people on the internet these days. A simple search of someone’s name and the company they work for will most likely generate their work bio or LinkedIn profile where there will be a way to contact them. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure your account on whatever platform you’re messaging them on is looking good. So no party photos or compromising scenarios.
These days, almost all networking is performed online. So if you haven’t already, make sure your networking techniques and digital persona are in tip-top shape and start building that network!
Stay in Touch
This last networking tip is one that early-career professionals always forget. Just because you’ve made a connection and had one or two interactions, your job isn’t even half over.
Keeping things authentic and genuine, reach out to your new connection at different times. Keep up with what they’re doing, engage with them online, maybe arrange to have a coffee at a later date, but whatever you’re doing, make sure you keep yourself close enough to be remembered but far enough to not be bothersome.
In time, these are all networking techniques that you can master and use to your advantage both during and after the job hunt. For more career tips and information on getting hired in 2022, check out our blog.