Networking For Novices

Heading off to another conference and dreading the schmoozing scene? It might help to know that networking is a critical element of a successful job search.

In fact, there is a lot of truth to the saying, “It’s all in who you know.” Many jobs, particularly high-level and executive, fill through word of mouth, rather than through traditional channels.

A solid grasp of networking basics keeps you in the loop and helps avoid the urge to skip networking opportunities. Conferences and seminars are great places to meet influential people, but making contacts doesn’t necessarily have to take place in hotel conference rooms.

Day-to-day functions and events in your current job, as well as during free time, offer many opportunities to meet important people. An invitation you received to your neighbour’s holiday party could be the perfect chance to meet that MD or HR manager living around the block.

In this age of technology, your laptop is an invaluable friend when it comes to job searching. With a little Internet surfing, you will find an abundance of message boards and chat rooms that are industry-specific and provide not only the advice of other professionals, but also contacts that could prove useful down the road.

Over time, networking helps you build a list of valuable contacts. Don’t stress yourself by the idea of having to be “on” and making a good impression.

Basic social skills will get you through your first few rounds of networking, and while you may not impress everyone you meet, you can avoid leaving bad impressions altogether bydoing your best to make sure people remember your name.

Some people dread the idea of networking because they equate it with “sucking up,” but it is simply a process of getting to know people. If you are friendly and good at making small talk in social and workrelated settings, then your list of “Who’s Who” will grow quickly!