Networking in today’s high-tech world can be easy for some and very difficult for others. What every job seeker needs to know is that networking must occur face-to-face, no matter how many say that building online networks is the new trend. Meeting potential employers in-person is still the best way to find gainful employment, whether you have been working full-time for 20 years or are right out of college searching for your first job. Follow the four tips outlined in this post and your networking skills will be strong.
Create a Plan of Action
Every job seeker should have a plan of action in place when it comes to networking. Do not begin calling colleagues, former co-workers, professors and other contacts until your plan is in place. You need to know what you want to achieve in your career, at a specific company, or while working in a specific position. You also need to determine which people you have to target based on the job you are seeking.
Have a Focused Search
Finding a new job, or a first job, takes a lot of time and effort. There always needs to be a focused search so you do not waste your time and the time of countless others. Expanding your network of contacts is great, but doing so with contacts who are loosely connected to your profession, or not connected at all, will not help you in the least bit. You also need to make sure that you do not attend events that are not associated with your profession or industry. This will be a waste of time. Only go to events that offer jobs within your industry.
Use the Internet
Even though in-person networking is still the best method around, you cannot make it all work without the help of the internet. Sites such as LinkedIn can help you grow your network of contacts. You can connect with professionals from your industry all across the country and the globe. By using LinkedIn you can get to know potential employers prior to meeting them in-person. Use this to your advantage and figure out what their companies are looking for in employees before you schedule an interview or travel to tour their facility.
Always Follow Up
One of the best pieces of advice for networking is to follow up with everyone you meet. After exchanging contact information either online or at an event, be sure to follow up via an email or a phone call. It is best to continually keep in touch with your network, not just when you need them to find a job.