Networking is a vital part of the job searching process. In many ways, finding a job is more about who you know and not what you know. Having a list of the latest job openings can certainly help you in your job search, but networking with the right people can help you land a job without ever having to dig through the “Help Wanted” ads. If you are new to networking or are looking to enhance your networking skills, use the tips below to improve your efforts.
1. Know Your Audience
Before a networking event, take the time to get to know your audience. These events sometimes have dozens of different company recruiters attending. Rather than trying to network with every recruiter, try finding out which companies will be represented. From here, you can narrow the list down to a handful of companies you would be interested in working with.
To really make an impression, research these companies and get to know them. This will ensure that your questions and your comments are informed. If you know nothing about the company, the recruiter will get the impression you are not serious about working for them. Putting in the time to research the company will not only help improve your chances of landing a job, but will also help you determine whether or not the company is a good fit for you.
2. Make a Connection
Find a way to connect with every recruiter you meet. These events are held in social settings and are not formal interviews. There is more to networking than handing over resumes and business cards. Start a conversation with the recruiter and find a way to connect with him or her. This connection will leave a lasting impression and the recruiter will be far more likely to remember you.
3. Make the Conversation About Them
Another way to make a lasting impression is to take the focus off of yourself and allow the recruiter to share their experiences and stories. Every person likes to talk about themselves, so shifting the focus to them will automatically create a positive impression of you. This also gives you a chance to ask some great questions about the company. Find out what they like most about working for the company or how they are able to balance work and life during busy times of the year.
4. Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
Networking events may not have a time limit, but you need to know when to end the conversation. If you can sense that the recruiter is losing interest or ready to move on, wrap things up. Hopefully, you have made a connection with them and made yourself memorable. Let them know you are interested in working for them. Ask if you can give the recruiter your resume and don’t forget to ask for a business card as well.
5. Don’t Burn Yourself Out
When you speak with recruiters, you want to make a positive impression. Spending an entire day networking can be incredibly exhausting. Take some breaks in between conversations. This will give you a chance to refresh, recharge and regain your enthusiasm. If you continue to push yourself, you may wind up making a poor impression.