Looking for a new job can be a time-consuming and stressful process. One of the keys to a successful job search is being able to network effectively. Networking– which is essentially gaining contacts and building relationships– can lead to job opportunities that you would have been otherwise unaware of. But the thought of networking can feel intimidating to newcomers in the job market. Where do you even begin to find new contacts? Consider the following tips for successful networking:
Research networking events in your area. When attending a job fair, learn which companies will be there in advance so you can do your homework before showing up. You never want to walk into a career fair or networking event aimlessly. After doing your research, visit with company representatives that are most relevant to your career path.
Plan your pitch.
Establish a pitch– often called an elevator speech– and memorize it. What should your pitch include? Effective elevator speeches succinctly describe who you are and what you’re hoping to achieve career-wise. They should be delivered confidently and should take no more than 10 to 15 seconds. Practice makes perfect, so remember to rehearse your pitch before attending networking events.
Get to know the person.
All too often, job seekers are so focused on impressing their new contact that they forget to learn anything about the person they’re talking to. Instead of making it all about you, ask questions about your contact. Where did she grow up? What college did she attend? Try to establish some common ground. You’re much more likely to be memorable if you can find a commonality or shared interest than if you simply introduce yourself and hand over a business card.
Don’t overstay your welcome.
Just as important as an effective elevator speech is knowing when to wrap things up and move on. While you might think that more face time means establishing a stronger connection, this can often backfire. Lingering too long might make the other party feel overwhelmed or restless. So, give your pitch, ask a few questions to get to know the other person and establish common ground, and then move on.
Think outside of the box.
Do you think you can only network at job fairs or events designed specifically for networking? You better think again. There are networking opportunities available almost anywhere; you just have to think creatively. Examples of non-traditional networking sources include neighbors, relatives, church members, club participants, alumni groups, and even former employers or past co-workers. Simply put: make sure everyone knows you’re in the market for a job.
Hopefully, your new connection has given you a business card or some other way to get in contact with him following your initial meeting. If not, you can likely find contact information via the company website or professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Then, make sure to follow-up with your new contact by sending a brief message thanking him for meeting with you and mentioning any specific points you talked about together so that he can more easily recall who you are.
Give yourself a break.
Let’s face it: networking can be exhausting. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, take a day off to regroup. Don’t get down on yourself, either. Networking takes time, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t hear back from a new contact right away.
Are you in the market for an accounting job in the San Diego area? We are a boutique staffing firm specializing in accounting, administrative, and finance jobs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you find the right position for your skills and experience. We look forward to hearing from you!