Posted by & filed under Career Advice, Job Search / Resume Tips.

Networking is a vital step in finding your next job. While many job seekers choose to go the solo route, they may not realize all of the benefits they are losing by not connecting with other job seekers and companies.

If you have never tried networking before, it’s easy to think that it’s a complicated process, or one that requires a gregarious personality. Guess what – it’s a lot easier than you think. Here are a few tips to help you turn any event into a networking opportunity.

1. Put yourself out there. Sitting at home alone is not an effective way to find a job. Find industry related events and start attending them. Networking isn’t that complicated – all you have to do is talk. Introduce yourself and work your job search into the conversation. Chances are they know someone directly, or of someone who needs a new hire just like you.
2. Learn How to Be Approachable. One of the secrets of networking is making yourself an approachable person. Don’t stand in the corner and bemoan that no one ever talked to you. Circulate, introduce yourself. Put a smile on your face and work on being relaxed. You’ll be surprised at the results you will get.

3. Avoid sounding scripted. No one likes to be on the receiving end of an obvious pitch. Create normal conversation and gradually lead into your true purpose. This is particularly true with hiring managers. They don’t want to be pitched. Let your confident demeanor and your conversation skills do the talking.

4. Avoid getting discouraged. Your first event may not amount to anything, but that’s ok. You got yourself out there and you made a good impression. You will be remembered when the time is right. The key is consistency and maintaining a positive outlook. In time, you will get the results you want.

If you’re having trouble learning networking skills, the next time you are at an event, watch other people. Take the time to learn from them and see what you should avoid and what you should adopt. This is a learning experience and it takes time. With effort and patience, you will be able to network like a pro.

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