People who are exploring new job opportunities most likely already know the importance of networking, and are making an effort to increase their networking. But, after trying networking for a while without any significant payoff, many people starte questioning if their networking is really working.
If that describes what has been on your mind, before spending more time networking, here is a checklist for you to get more out of your networking going forward. This list came from one of our earlier blogs on networking and great feedback by our friend, Sandy Jones-Kaminski, Author of I’m at a Networking Event–Now What?:
- Revisit your attitude about networking. Networking is not a means to an end. It’s not meant to simply find people jobs. Networking is about mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about professional connection, finding ways to help others and building long term alliances. Enter each networking encounter with a philosophy of long term relationship building.
- Be helpful. Find ways within your limits to support and give to your network with no thought about how it will come back to you. You can’t know what the “payoff” may be and it doesn’t matter. Be sure to offer help to others in a way that jives with your own priorities and don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Get off the computer. For some it’s most comfortable to network via email, message boards and list serves. But in person contact is far more memorable. Set goals for attending events, meeting people for coffee or lunch and participating in groups.
- Focus on the long term. It’s true, networking often does not show short term payoff. It’s a long term proposition, but one that is proven to pay off.
- Don’t take networking too seriously. It can and should be fun. Connect with the intention of helping others rather than simply expecting to find the elusive perfect job or client.
- Be the person to include others into the conversation when they join the circle. What a great way to create a good impression and set an example for others. As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
- Be sincere, open and follow through on your commitments. Authenticity leaves a lasting impression.
Set a goal to continuously networking throughout your career. It’s about building long-lasting relationship, not just about finding a job. Make it low-pressure, fun and social. You never know who you might meet and what might come out of knowing these new interesting people. The payoff of your networking is the unexpected adventure and discoveries along the way.