Have you ever wanted to have more people in your network? And learn what the term networking really entails. In this blog, I will be sharing with you five simple and effective tips that will drastically change the way you network.
Networking is the process of building relationships with other professionals. Before we get to the tips, here are some reasons why networking is so important:
It shows employers that you are active and invested in your career
You can make long-lasting relationships with other professionals
Employers can meet potential job candidates that they didn’t find online through the traditional application process
Job seekers can learn about possible job opportunities
Job seekers can leverage their network to spread the word that they are looking for a job
These are just a few benefits; there are countless opportunities you will be able to gain via networking. Whether you are seeking career growth or new opportunities, networking is your key to success. So, without further ado, here are our five tips to improve your networking skills.
1. Connect with People on LinkedIn.
If you’re not already on LinkedIn, take this as a sign to create your account. LinkedIn is not only a brilliant way to conduct your job search but more importantly, it is also an amazing tool you can use to connect with other people in the workforce and build your network.
Before you connect with someone on LinkedIn you should be able to answer this question: why do I want to connect with this person? If the answer is to purely grow the number of connections you have, you may need to rethink who you connect with. When you connect with someone you should either have a personal connection with them or have an action plan to reach out to them to further your connection with that individual.
Tip #1: When you connect with someone new, make sure to send them a message reminding them where you met them. If you want to meet this individual or further the relationship, ensure to include an action item, such as having a coffee chat.
Tip #2: Before you start connecting with people, ensure that your profile is finished and set up, so your new connections know more about you before they connect with you. We definitely don’t want them to think you are a bot!
2. Attend Networking Events & Job Fairs
One of the quickest ways to meet future employers is by meeting them in person! Often those who represent companies at job fairs oversee recruiting and hiring, so it's vital that you attend as many as you can. Here are some things to consider before you attend a networking event or job fair:
Who will be there (companies, specific employers)? Is there a particular company/employer you want to speak with?
Why are you attending the event?
What questions do you want to ask when meeting an employer?
How will you introduce yourself?
When attending a networking event/job fair, it is important to keep in mind that employers are likely to meet hundreds of people. If you have any questions for them, make sure you keep it concise and get straight to the point. If you meet someone at a job fair who you want to reconnect with in the future, make sure you get their contact information. We don’t want to lose those meaningful connections!
Tip: Before going to a networking event/job fair try practicing your introduction/elevator pitch so that when you meet with employers, you sound confident, professional, and prepared which will create a lasting impression.
3. Coffee Chats!!
Firstly, you may ask, what is a coffee chat? Excellent question! Over the past year, the term coffee chat has taken a whole new meaning. It has drastically helped me grow my networking and build my confidence and I hope it can do the same for you! A coffee chat is an informal meeting, typically between two people, and used to build relationships with other professionals. Often topics that are discussed are:
Careers goals and interests
Field of work/ industry
It is important to note that a coffee chat is not a job interview. It does not mean you will have a guaranteed job afterward. However, if you’re looking for a job, a successful coffee chat can result in the employer keeping you in mind when future job opportunities arise. Tip: Before meeting someone for a coffee chat, think about what you want to get out of it and what your goal is. Remember they are taking the time to meet with you so make sure you make it worthwhile and make a good first impression.
4. The Networking Doesn’t Finish After You Meet Them Once
You might be thinking to yourself, I created my LinkedIn profile, attended job fairs/events, and had my coffee chats, but what now? Well, here’s the deal: networking isn’t a one-and-done deal. You’ve got to stay on your game, follow up, and actually make things happen based on what you discussed in that first meeting. Here are three vital things you can add to your to-do list after you build a new connection.
Always follow up to say thank you
Follow through with any action items discussed
Continue to reconnect over topics of shared interest
5. Do Your Research
Much like when you are about to write an essay or begin a project, it’s a good idea to spend some time researching the person you want to connect with. This research phase should be applied to several aspects of networking including before you connect with someone on LinkedIn, go for a coffee chat, and attend a networking event. Here are some things you should consider researching before meeting someone/potential employer:
What company do they currently work for?
What previous work experiences they’ve had (also check if you have any common interests or conversation starters)?
What job opportunities are available at their company?
What are the company values?
The key here is that coming prepared to any sort of networking setting will tell the employer that you are genuinely interested and keen to learn more and connect!
I hope you finished reading this blog feeling more prepared and confident to network than ever before! Make it fun and enjoyable for yourself! You can gain so much from networking effectively and you may just land that job you’ve been eyeing forever!
Have More Questions About Networking?
Make sure you keep an eye out on social media and company websites for any upcoming networking events and opportunities! Here at TEAM Work Cooperative, we can support you in building your confidence and skills when it comes to your networking.
After reading this article, if you still have more questions, please fill out our form (located in the footer of this webpage) below to get connected with our employment specialists.
About Emma Sundloev
Raised in Switzerland, and from Singapore and Sweden, Emma recently moved to Halifax to pursue her undergraduate degree. She is studying Commerce, majoring in Managing People and Organizations at Dalhousie University, and is currently completing her second co-op at TEAM Work! In her free time, Emma enjoys singing in her acapella group, hanging out with friends, and involving herself in various societies and activities. Growing up in an international school her whole life, Emma also loves exploring new countries and learning new cultures!