The job market is increasingly competitive these days and candidates have to find bigger and better ways to stand out from their rivals, but could the art of networking be used outside the boardroom to boost a job seeker’s prospects across all industries?
Usually reserved for business men and women, networking to gain professional contacts is becoming the way to impress prospective employers and get ahead career-wise. The majority of openings are never advertised and instead are filled by people employers know and can rely on, making networking an essential stepping stone. Whilst many may see networking as an inauthentic, devious way of sowing your seeds in an industry you love, many more are using it to schmooze with the very best and progress with better job roles and better prospects. If you are a novice to the whole networking scene, these tips are sure to put you on the path to success…
Establish Your Network
Unbeknown to many, the majority of people already have a wide network that could enhance their job prospects. Making a list of your current network is a great step towards knowing how and where to expand it. Family, friends, colleagues and even acquaintances form each network, whilst people you meet in a professional capacity like your gym instructor, dry cleaner, accountant or GP keeps your network list growing. Establish your objective for networking and use this list to reach out and achieve this.
Enhancing your Communication Skills
Being able to effectively communicate with people from all walks of life is an essential part of networking to find a better job. Communication is a learned ability, so don’t be afraid to improve both your verbal and non-verbal skills. Being able to listen as well as talk is also vital when developing strong professional bonds and achieving your objectives, whilst emotional awareness also helps to keep all communications genuine.
Build a Genuine Relationship
The first step to becoming a great networker is to be able to view things through another person’s eyes. When successfully dealing with industry professionals it helps conversation to understand what goes on in their minds, this understanding ensures that you build an honest and long-standing professional connection.
Keep Their Interests at Heart
Whilst networking is all about bettering yourself and progressing in your career, you should always portray yourself as someone who is interested helping someone else out before yourself. Suggesting a collaboration is a great place to start and allows you to develop an ally as well as accommodating your own wants and needs. Having an agenda as well as making friendly gestures is the key to strengthening your professional alliances.
Many people find networking a daunting process but once you get used to it, networking is certainly a skill to hang on to and most of all, enjoy! Whilst it is important to remain focused to achieve your goal, you should also slow down and enjoy the experience as well as the people you meet along the way – and trust me, they’ll be a few characters! Reconnect for job success by using the communication skills that come naturally to all of us.