How to network THE RIGHT WAY
(and get results)
Whether you’re fresh out of uni and looking for a job, or if you’re looking for a promotion or change of scenery – knowing how to network is one of the most important things to learn.
Your network is made up of all the professional connections that you have – maybe they work in a company in the same industry as you, or even in the exact role you’re looking to get in to.
They could be in a small company, a big company, a junior role or a senior role.
Regardless of the specifics, utilising your network is going to be quite invaluable to you on your journey up the up the career scale.
Think about it from a recruiters perspective -
someone with an internal referral carries a HUGE amount of weight.
In many cases, you could be up against hundreds of the applicants for a role, so when a recruiter sees that you’ve been referred by somebody that already works in that company, it gets flagged straight away.
This makes a really big difference. Recruiters and employers, will look at applicants with an internal referral much more favourably.
Imagine you needed to hire a babysitter, a cleaner or gardener.
Would you take the recommendation of one of your friends, or google for one online?
A person that you know well and trust will always win.
So we’ve established that using your networks effectively is of the utmost importance.
But many people actually don’t know how to network.
So how do you actually BEGIN?
The first thing you need to understand is that there is a wrong way and a right way to network.
You’d be surprised at how many people actually don’t know how to network.
They go to a networking event, or meet up with people from work or uni, and they just talk about themselves.
All they care about is getting the answers they want to know and talk about the things that they are only interested in.
They’re so focused on themselves that they disregard the other person entirely.
Their “me, me, me” attitude makes it clear that they just want something from the other person.
Think about it like this – if somebody approached you and just started talking about themselves, how would you feel?
Your natural reaction to realising a person just wants something from you is to raise your defences..
This is where people often go wrong. They’re not building that rapport at all, and they’re unable to connect with people and leave a good impression.
The key to networking is understanding that it actually starts with the OTHER PERSON.
You need to realise that you’re speaking to a real person. You can’t just expect to come up to a person that you don’t know and start talking about yourself.
You should be genuinely interested in who they are and what they have to say, and try to build an actual relationship.
The second part is you need to be succinct.
When somebody asks you a question, they don’t want a long-winded response that takes half an hour.
That’s how you make a person lose interest.
In a networking scenario, it’s important to keep your answers straight to the point, especially because in many cases you don’t have a long time to network.
A good way to practice this is to come up with an elevator pitch.
This stems from the idea of being stuck in an elevator with a potential employer – and you have under a minute to highlight your qualities, experience and attributes.
What would you say to influence them and leave a good impression? You’d use short and targeted statements that clearly show that you’d be a valuable part of their company.
When doing this, you need to clearly outline your career direction, as well as actually understand what you can offer that the employer is looking for.
This means talking about relevant and recent experience, as well as clearly articulating what you can bring to the table.
However, this is just a rough guide.
There are many different ways to network, and there are no strict rules – this is important to remember.
While you shouldn’t drone on about your personal life, you also shouldn’t be afraid to open up.
An elevator pitch is all about facts, but networking is more about building a relationship – and it takes two to tango.
You definitely want to let them know how many years of relevant experience you have, how many companies you’ve worked for, and what your responsibilities were – but don’t forget to relax a bit.
You’ll actually be turning people off with a ‘strictly business’ vibe. The key is to be succinct, but also to build that connection.
By getting to know more about them, as well as opening up about yourself, you’ll leave a lasting impression in their minds, and that’s the key to networking.
Until Next Time,