Networking 101

Significantly Improve Your Networking Skills

by Kristi Patrice Carter, J.D.

Now that I've convinced you that Networking is a VERY good thing to implement into your job searching strategy, you're probably wondering how to make it a successful venture. Well, that's what this article will teach you, my dear jobseeker. Here you will learn KPC's proven networking secrets that, when correctly implemented, will make you the King or Queen of Networking and help you land your dream position. Now don't you worry, it won't take you a long time to learn or improve upon these skills. In fact, you can begin enhancing your skills right now. So, without further adieu, here are six tips to help you improve your networking skills:

  1. Prepare, prepare, and prepare for the task at hand. Now before you panic, I'm not talking about spending hours and hours at the library or conducting in-depth company evaluations of potential employers (although having some good and concrete information about the company and positions you're applying for is always, always a good idea). Instead, I am talking about really figuring out what you have to offer a potential employer and then presenting the information in a clear, concise and enticing way. For example, here's a networking tip that I might implement to a medical employment agency that I am interested in getting referrals to. "Hello, my name is Kristi Patrice Carter and I'm an experienced resume writer and career counselor. In the past, I have successfully prepared numerous resumes and administered sound career counseling to various professionals and I want to learn more about the medical recruitment field. Do you have any advice for me or know anyone that I can contact for more information?" See, in this example, my primary purpose was not to ask for potential clients. Instead, I am merely trying to make a networking contact, an ally and perhaps learn more about the industry. And, I have clearly stated my qualifications and piqued their interest.
     
  2. Establish a Contact File. While networking, you must keep good records. My advice is to use a standard card file (box and note cards). Then, every time you meet a potential networking prospect, you can indicate the date, time of meeting, their contact information (name, address, and phone number), how you met/found them, who referred them, anything personal they mentioned during your conversation, as well as any salient points about your conversation that you would like to remember. It is very important to keep track of this file because you are developing long-term contacts.
     
  3. Networking Takes Time. Remember that the earth wasn't built in a day and networking takes time. It's perfectly understandable that you're eager to make contacts but don't become over anxious. Finding quality people that you can successfully network with, takes time and finding quality employment takes even longer. But if you stick to it, set goals for yourself and stay on track, you can successfully accomplish your goals.
     
  4. Don't Be Too Selective With Whom You Network. I'm not saying that you should network with every single person that you meet. But, you need to realize that all kinds of people can help you during your job search. For example, make yourself a list of people who might know someone that can help you. This list can include: parents, relatives, friends (high school, college, grad school), neighborhood friends, ex employers/coworkers, acquaintances (alumni from college, graduate school,), service people you know (insurance agent, beautician, dentist, doctor, postman, garbage man, postal delivery person, etc). The key here is to make your list as exhaustive as you possibly can.
     
  5. Networking is a Proactive Process. Remember that networking is proactive and you have to keep making contacts, taking part in activities and maintaining an upbeat personality. You can't simply sit at home and wait for contacts to come to you. You have to go out and find them and ensure that they remember and think of you regularly. Therefore, it is totally appropriate to send follow up letters and other memorabilia to keep you in their minds.
     
  6. Join as Many Activities As Possible. Another way that you can effectively network is to partake in interesting activities where you can meet people that share a common interest. Not only will you share a common interest with them but also you can make some valuable contacts. It doesn't matter if you volunteer or attend events. The importance is that you get out there and meet people.
     
  7. Never ever give up. Remember that you'll have some good days where you meet and network with lots of great contacts and other days when you don't meet anyone that can assist you. However, the important thing to remember is that you can and will be a successful networker but you have to remain confident and never ever give up.

About the Author

Kirsti Patrice Carter is an experienced copywriter, a published author, and she owns three successful online writing businesses (kpcresumes.com, kpcmarketing, and kpcwriting.com). Her book, Fire Your Boss and Hire Yourself, is being featured on freelanceyourway.com.


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