Landing a job involves more than submitting an application online and waiting for a response. With the job market more competitive than ever, you have to set yourself apart from other applicants by building relationships in your desired industry. Networking can be overwhelming, especially for a new graduate so we put together some tips to remember when networking:
- Find local networking events
You are more likely to make an impression in person than through email or on social media. Look for professional clubs in your area and sign up for an event to start making contacts. Networking events are especially important if you are new to an area.
- Get your own business cards
Business cards are a necessity when meeting professional acquaintances. You also have an opportunity to make cards that are personalized and help you to stand out. Some tips for business cards: make sure the font is easy to read, include all contact information and choose a design that is interesting but not distracting.
- Collect cards and write details of the conversation on the back
As you meet people and collect their business cards, it’s a good idea to make notes about details of the conversation. As you follow up with the people you meet, include something from your original meeting. This helps the person remember you and shows you were actively listening and present in the conversation.
- Don’t get too formal too quickly
Networking isn’t an interview. You are meeting industry people and building a network of contacts that could follow you throughout your career. Approach people with respect but, conversationally. Use the time to ask about their life and not just their job.
- Remember to follow up
Networking is all about creating relationships with business professionals. After an initial meeting, follow up with an email or phone call to keep the communication lines open.
Learning how to be an effective networker can help build your contacts and introduce you to career opportunities you might miss out on when only applying for jobs online.