Networking is an essential skill when looking for a job. Unfortunately, if you’re not comfortable networking you can miss out on valuable opportunities when it comes to looking for a job. If networking is not in your comfort zone, start small.
Everyone has a relative somewhere that has a job doing something. Attend family gatherings and start by talking to relatives you may not have seen in a while. Before you jump right in asking for a job, show a genuine interest in what they have been doing since you last talked. Let them get to know you so they would be comfortable referring you for a job opening.
Do you have high school or college friends that you have not talked to in awhile? Do you have a school reunion coming up? Perhaps a quick Facebook search can help locate many of your long-lost friends. As with family, don’t just jump into the job conversation. In many cases, you may not have spoken in quite a few years. Catch up with kids, relationships, vacations. This is not only so they can get to know you, but you may not want to be referred to a job by just anybody. Remember, networking is a two-way street.
Former work colleagues
Do you maintain a relationship with any of your colleagues from former jobs? They are probably the best people to network with. They should already be aware of your skills and work habits. They may be able to notify you when positions open up within the organization or steer you to clients that have openings. This is one of the reasons to live by the motto “never burn your bridges.”
Fraternity and sorority members
If you went through Hell Week now is the time to cash in on those long weeks of pledging. If you pledged a fraternity and sorority in college, contact your former pledge brothers and sisters. These relationships were meant to go beyond your college years and the last frat party.
Start networking small. If you’re not ready to attend association meetings or formal networking events, that’s fine. Start within your comfort zone. Start with the people you know and branch out from there. Soon you will be moving through the networking sphere with ease - well on your way to a new job.
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Networking All-in-One For Dummies