Everyone networks but what really matters is the way you network. Many people believe that networking means always calling everybody and asking them for a job offer or favours and so relate networking with being disturbing and overbearing.
As a result of these, so many people seem to avoid/hide away from networking because they do not want to be labeled as this type of person.
Networking is not any of these misleading ideas, it is a two way thing where people get to know each other and look into finding out ways they might be able to help you and how you can help them in return.
Networkers that are successful display a sincere interest in their networking contacts and work hard to develop a relationship, establish their credibility and share their information and knowledge.
To become a successful networker, you should follow the belief that everyone has something to learn and gain from another person.
Networking is an ongoing process and it requires consistency, attention, organisation and good will.
Find below tips to help you build/grow your network:
1. Meet New People Through Other People
One of the best and easiest way to meet new people is through referrals. Stick around with the people you already know and who know the people you are looking to meet. Being introduced through them or joining in with their conversations you will very likely receive a warm welcome and introduction to the person you wanted an introduction to.
2. Use Social Media
Social media is an effective way to get to know important contacts better and without the pressure of a face to face meeting that you may not be prepared for. Look out like-minded or key contacts you would like to know better within your LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter and others. Try to comment on a link they post or responding to a comment they make, start a conversation with them and offer them value in return. Whenever you have the opportunity to meet them in person it will be easier to reference previous communications with them.
3. Do not Ask For A Job
Networking is not asking everyone you know for a job, in fact, when you network you should never ask someone for a job. You should ask people for information that will assist you in your job search. Your main networking goal should be to build a relationship and establish rapport so when a potential opportunity may arise in the future, your contact may be willing to refer you.
4. Use Your CV as a Tool for Advice
Another easy yet highly effective way to network during a job search is to ask others who you have established a relationship with to review your CV and give you feedback on how to improve it. Using this technique is valuable for a number of reasons. When reviewing your CV they will discover your work history, your previous titles, your objectives and many things they may not yet know about you. They may remember a company or a connection that your background may be perfectly suited to.
5. Let The Other Person Speak
When networking, be sure that you don’t do all the talking. The key to being a good conversationalist is being a good listener. If you have asked another person for advice or their opinion, make sure they have the opportunity to offer it and tell you.
Ask some of the following questions:
• How long have you stayed with this company? Or how long have you been in this field?
• What do you like or dislike about your job?
• What type of training did you need for this position?
• What is the culture of this company?
6. Give A Success Story
Once you have found a topic the other person may find interesting and you can offer advice on, present a solution by telling a story about how you provided help to others in a similar situation. Tell them about your problem and how you solved it, but keep it very short and nice.
7. Ask Them For Suggestions on How to Expand Your Network
Every different person you meet will know approximately another 200 people, and if you can gain introductions to some of these contacts, you will quickly increase your network and your chances of finding an extremely valuable connection. Ask your contacts if they can recommend a professional organisation or the names of some of the people you should be talking with.
8. Find a Reason to Follow Them Up
Create a reason to keep the relationship going past that level, if you read an article that adds to a discussion you had during a networking meeting, save it and send it to them with a brief note on what you found interesting and how you think it could be of good to them.