Everybody knows that in this day and age, it's not always about what you know, it's who you know. During trying economic times like these, the key to landing your dream job is to stand out from the competition by showcasing both your talent and personality.
For a quick and painless networking experience, follow a few tips that will help you leave a lasting impression:
1. A handshake can make or break a first impression, so practice, practice, practice! Demonstrate your self-confidence and genuine interest by executing a firm shake.
2. Don't be shy! Attend events related to the industry that you're interested in and mingle. Whether you're waiting in line at the coat check or sitting up at the bar, you just never know who you might meet.
3. While chatting it up with people you've just met, be sure to talk about topics other than the industry you're trying to break into. Listen and ask questions. It's important to showcase your personality, and who knows, maybe you'll find out that you share common interests!
4. Don't be too pushy. When meeting someone new, don't simply shove your resume at them. Everyone knows you're talented, so establish a friendship first. After all, no one likes to feel as though they're being used.
5. When attending events, don't forget to ask for a person's business card or contact information at the end of a conversation. People love to know that others are interested in what they do, so chances are, they would love to continue talking with you, even if it's just via email.
Is Your Resume Costing You a Dream Job?
6. That being said, be ready to hand out a business card of your own! Some may think that business cards are outdated, but it's a lot easier to remember to contact someone with a concrete reminder sitting in a coat pocket.
7. Stop apologizing. Too often, inexperienced networkers tend to apologize to those they're reaching out to. If you don't think you're worth their time, why would they? And more importantly, networking doesn't have to be a burden...just think of it as building new relationships!
8. People receive tons of emails each day, so it's easy to miss one. To make a more lasting (and tangible!) impression, send a handwritten note when saying "thank you." Even if it's a coffee date with a friend of a friend, a handwritten note adds a personal touch as you thank someone for their time.
9. Follow up. Again, potential employers meet new people every day, so it's important to stay on their radar by sending an email or making a call every few months. Just started a new internship? Finished an awesome class project? Let them know! It shows them you're gaining experience and reminds them that you're out there.
10. And finally, take a risk. Many people fear networking because they're afraid they'll be rejected. Such a fear will prevent you from meeting interesting (and interested!) people.
A fascinating book about the importance of our *Connections* is:
‘Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives’
By: Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler
Here is an excerpt shared by AARP:
Nicholas and his wife Erika like to joke that they had an arranged marriage, South Asia style. Though they lived within four blocks of each other for two years and were both students at Harvard, their paths never crossed. Erika had to go all the way to Bangladesh so that Nicholas could find her.
In the summer of 1987, he went to Washington, D.C., where he had grown up and gone to high school, to care for his ailing mother. He was a medical student, single, and, he foolishly thought, not ready for a serious relationship. His old high-school friend, Nasi, was also home for the summer. Nasi’s girlfriend, Bemy, who had come to know Nicholas well enough that her gentle teasing was a source of amusement for all of them, was also there. She had, as it turned out, just returned from a year in rural Bangladesh, doing community development work.
In the waterlogged village where Bemy had spent her year abroad was a beautiful young American woman with whom she shared a burning desire to end poverty and a metal bucket to wash her hair. You probably know where this story is going.
One afternoon, in the middle of the monsoon, while writing a postcard to Nasi, Bemy suddenly turned to her friend Erika and blurted out: “I just thought of the man you’re going to marry.” That man was Nicholas.
Erika was incredulous. But months later, she agreed to meet him in D.C., when the four of them had dinner at Nasi’s house. Nicholas was of course immediately smitten. Erika was “not unimpressed,” as she later put it. That night, after getting home, Erika woke up her sister to announce that she had, indeed, met the man she was going to marry. Three dates later, Nicholas told Erika he was in love. And that is how he came to marry a woman who was three degrees removed from him all along, who had practically lived next door, who had never known him before but who was just perfect for him.
Such stories—with varying degrees of complexity and romance—occur all the time in our society. In fact, a simple Google search for “how I met my wife” and “how I met my husband” turns up thousands of narratives, lovingly preserved on the Internet.. ... The romantic essence of these stories is that they seem to involve both luck and destiny. But, if you think about it, these meetings aren’t so chancy. What these stories really have in common is that the future partners started out with two or three degrees of separation between them before the gap was inexorably closed.
Excerpted from Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. Copyright 2009 by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler with permission from Little, Brown and Company.
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