On a recent Career Wake Up Call (http://www.CareerWakeUpCalls.com), a job seeker asked, “How can I network at in-transition groups if networking does not come naturally for me?”
Networking is about meeting new people, sharing what’s on your mind and then figuring out how you can help them with whatever they are working on at the time. Some people enjoy networking and are at ease when making new connections. For others, it takes work to summon up the courage to attend an event when you don’t expect to know anyone else. Here are some outside the box thoughts on ways to make networking seem easier for you.
Anytime you are having a conversation, you are networking. Talking to your friends, talking to your family and talking to the person next to you on the plane, is networking. You are simply getting to know people better than you knew them before and trying to help them achieve their goals, no matter how small.
Getting involved in social activities is another form of networking. Meetup.com is a free site that lists over 2000 social networking events nationwide on all kinds of topics. If you are a trekkie, a baseball fan, a movie buff, a real estate mogul, or a scuba diver, you can attend a local event with other like-minded people. You may not talk about your job search during the first conversation like you do at a career related event, but trust me, the topic will eventually come up as you get to know your backgammon partner, your scrabble buddy or your fellow astrology reader. Volunteering is a form of networking also. As you are building the Habitat for Humanity house, feeding the homeless or helping to design the Halloween haunted house, you will find many ways to get to know the people around you. Take advantage of all these opportunities to make new friends and to be open to new possibilities.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Networking is the art of building relationships, which is an important skill to master in any job. Networking is not about you asking everyone you know for help. It’s about paying it forward and asking how you can help them. Continue to network long after you land. Cultivate your relationships so that they grow into lifelong friendships – that is the true meaning of networking.
Abby Kohut is an HR professional with 15 years of experience whose goal in 2010 is to help 1,000,000 job seekers get back to work. You can learn more about Abby at http://www.AbsolutelyAbby.com