A friend of mine recently asked me what was the hardest part of job search for most people. The answer? NETWORKING.
Networking can be as unnerving as standing up in front of an audience for some people. Of course you have others, like most of my sales cleints, who can get up in front of anyone and speak for any amount of time. But for most, just the thought of having to meet new people makes them wince.
Here are a few pointers to help ease your way into the networking circuit:
1) Tell everyone you know that you are job searching. You never know what doors may open for you. While in college, I told a client of mine (I was a Nail Technician!) that I was looking for an intership that would be accepted by my university AND be relevant to my degree. Guess what? As the Director of Human Resources at the time (now she is President/CEO) of an international non-profit organization, she had the federal funds to open a new career cneter and guess who was going to be interning there? All of my worrying about finding the right PAID internship, and it (she) was in front of me the whole time.
2) Get together with other professionals you know. Start your own networking “club” with friends/family/colleagues. Keep as current as possible on your own company’s job openings, too. It never fails, there is always someone who will let you know of a job opening a their place of employment.
3) Hit the job fairs. It may sound scary, meeting ACTUAL human resources people from the companies you admire, but remember, they are there to meet YOU. Their job is to take resumes and potential candidates back to the company for review becuase they NEED employees! So, dust off your best outfit, take clean copies of your resume, and head out the door to the nearest job fair.
4) Remember, you are qualified! If you are second guessing yourself as you are about the introduce yourself to a possible contact, remember that you ARE qualified for the position. Take a quick moment to remind yourself of all the RIGHT reasons that you shold be hired.
5) Visualize. This is one of my favorite tools for every area of my life. I’ve used it in job search, interviews, and presentations. Picture yourself having an interesting conversation with a contact. Picture them responsding to you in a favorable way, seemingly taken with whatever you are saying. Play our the scene in your head. What are you saying? What are they saying? How are you describing yourself, your abilities, your training/education, etc? Visualize them writing down your number or taking your card, later calling you in fo ran interview. Not only does thsi make you feel relaxed, but it helps you when you actually begin speaking with the person because you feel more prepared and not as tense when they ask you about yourself.
These simple steps will help reduce the panic and stress of meeting new people and networking. Good luck!– Erin Kennedy