Getting Comfortable with Networking.

Networking is more about farming than about hunting; it’s about cultivating relationships

Have you ever heard the expression that it’s not about what you know, but about who you know? It’s true. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows that around 70% of jobs are obtained through networking. Learning various networking methods will improve your job-search success rate. Also – the job may not be advertised at all! Networking leads to information and job leads often before a formal job description is created or announced.

And the faster this concept is grasped, the faster you can begin making connections and building your wealth.

Everybody that you meet knows something that you don’t.

People network to make CONNECTIONS! -And these connections may help you…

  • Find a new job
  • Get expert or field advice
  • Solve a solution to a problem
  • Stay up-to-date about relevant news and events
  • Hear about better products and services

The main goal of networking is to talk positively about yourself, your skills and accomplishments, relate to what the person is looking for, and ask for what you need. It’s important to prepare your pitch, establish a connection, and maintain it so that it can continue to grow.

Here’s a few tips about how to prepare for a networking event or occasion

  • If you have the opportunity, research the person or organization in advance. What are they looking for? What are their values? What type of strategies do they use? What can they benefit from? Think of a few questions or conversation starters so that you are prepared to start our carry out a meaningful conversation.
  • Target your potential connections. Remember that quality is better than quantity. Figure out who you would like to network with and who can benefit your goals and needs (or who can benefit from you) – and then tailor your speech to relate to them. It’s better to leave with two important connections to your network, rather than twenty connections that aren’t relevant to your goals.
  • Ask questions! People love to talk about themselves and it will get the conversation going
  • Practice! Go over your elevator pitch in the mirror or with a friend. If you find yourself running into a potential connection unplanned, this is the time to pull out your elevator pitch.
  • Follow up by e-mail or phone call. When you meet someone – take the time to send a quick note to thank them, send a news article you think might interest them, or even come up with a solution to a problem they shared with you. Let your contacts know that you appreciate the time they spend with you as well as their knowledge and opinion. If someone has been especially helpful to you, offer to take them out for coffee or a meal
  • Don’t lose touch! Networking is not just about getting a job. It’s about keeping in touch along the way.

~Caitlin James, SharpLink guest blogger