Do you hate networking too?

I hate Networking!
I hear from my clients all the time that they hate networking. 
Does the following sound familiar:
•It’s pushy
•It’s not for me
•It makes me look desperate
•I’ll loose my friends
Have you ever considered though that networking is something that we all do naturally.  How many times have you asked your friends if they know of a good decorator or plumber; what about when you want to go out somewhere nice for dinner or if you want to know about a good sports coach for your child.  Networking when looking for a new job should be no different.
Networking for beginners
Step 1:
The most important thing that I’ve learned about networking over the years is that it is not about getting a new job.  It’s about showing a real interest in other people and sharing freely sharing information with them.  In turn it therefore creates more possibilities for you.
Step 2:
What you are aiming to do is to build your personal network of connections.  Naturally with the dawn of social media and the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook, you can instantly connect with people you hardly even know and you don’t even need to talk to them.  However, if you believe that you are well networked as you have over 500 friends, you are fooling yourself, believe me!  Networking is more than this, much more.
Step 3:
Yes, use social networking sites to connect with people in your field that you are interested in, however on-line networking is a very poor tool for communication.  You must follow up with real life conversations.  If you are interested in what someone does and think you might like to do this, arrange to talk to them.  How flattered would you feel if you got a call from someone asking to meet you as they admire your work? 
Throughout the meeting think about how you can help this person, as it is not all about you and what you can get out of it.  Remember, the aim of this meeting is not for them to give you a job, but for you to learn about other jobs, other fields and identify who the key people and recruiters are.
Step 4:
If you do go to a networking event, training course or any type of event where there are a group of people think of this as an opportunity for you to build relationships and friendships with the people in the room.  Seek out people you have things in common with and when ending conversations ensure that people know you are very grateful for their help.
John Lees, a leading Career Coach in the UK, has 3 well known predictions about how networking can help you find your next job:

  1. You will already know one person that can really help you within your close circle of contacts.
  2. You will find a job through someone you meet in the next 6 moths as word of mouth is much more successful than any other method of job hunting.
  3. Best results come from the 3rd level of networking:
  • Level 1 – people you know well
  • Level 2 – people you vaguely know
  • Level 3 – people you don’t know at all now – these people uncover the hidden job market for you and have no assumptions about you.

So in summary therefore, start today to grow your personal network of contacts by seeking out people that you are genuinely interested in and begin sharing information and helping them.  Be open to the numerous opportunities that are waiting out there for you to explore.
I wish you all the best in exploring your networks.
For more information about using LinkedIn for job seeking, check out the following article I have written: Common Pitfalls when using LinkedIn for Job Seeking.

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