|Career Tips - Supersonic Searching Mondays|
|Written by Abby Kohut|
This past week's Career Wake Up Call (link) included rich ponderings on social networking from our job seekers. Since everyone, including me, is recommending that you network like crazy nowadays, the question is, how do you keep up with all of it, especially if networking does not come naturally for you?
The question that I received from the job seeker was this. "I go to networking meetings but sometimes I feel like I need a break from them. Is this common?" Sure, networking seems easy. It's about meeting new people, sharing what's on your mind and then figuring out how you can help them with whatever they are working on at the time. Alas…what's easy for some is not easy for all.
Some people enjoy networking and are at ease when making new connections. For others, it takes work to summon up the courage to attend an event when you don't expect to know anyone else. That tension can cause you to want to take a break from networking events every once in a while.
On the call, I reminded everyone that anytime you are having a conseration, you are networking. Talking to your friends, talking to your family and talking to the person next to you on the plane, is networking. You are simply getting to know people better than you knew them before and trying to help them achieve their goals, no matter how small. So even if you take a break from the formal events, spend time with friends and family and brainstorm on ways that you can help each other.
I also suggested on the call that getting involved in social activities is another form of networking. Meetup.com is a site that posts social networking events nationwide on all kinds of topics. If you are a trekkie, a baseball fan, a movie buff, a real estate mogul, or a scuba diver, you can attend an event in your neighborhood with other like-minded people. You may not talk about your job search during the first conversation like you do at a career related event, but trust me, the topic will eventually come up as you get to know your backgammon partner, your scrabble buddy or your fellow astrology reader.
Volunteering is a form of networking also. As you are building the Habitat for Humanity house, feeding the homeless or helping to design the neighborhood haunted house, you will find many ways to get to know the people around you. Take advantage of all these opportunities to make new friends and to be open to new possibilities.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
Anytime you are talking to someone else, you are networking. Networking is the art of building relationships, which as you know, is an important skill to master in any job. Networking is not about you asking everyone you know for help. It's about paying it forward and asking how you can help them. You have been networking long before you knew you were doing it, and you should continue to do it long after you land. Cultivate your relationships so that they grow into lifelong friendships – that is the true meaning of networking.