The last time we discussed networking, we looked at why networking is more effective than responding to job postings (click here if you missed that post). I expect that after reading that post, many of you thought, “Okay, so networking is effective, but I can’t network / hate networking / am not going to do it” – or something to that effect, but with more expletives.
As a former networking hater, I totally get it! I spent many years hating networking like a kid hates shots. But friends, I am here to tell you that you will not advance professionally if you do not embrace networking. Let me repeat – you will not advance professionally if you do not embrace networking.
So you might as well start practicing now, while you are still in the relatively safe environment of school, rather than once you are tossed out into the coldness of the “real world.” And I think once you have started, you will find out that networking is actually pretty easy, especially since it something that you already do on a more informal basis every day.
Networking = Building Relationships. If you want to avoid the scenario in the above cartoon, you have to get rid of the concept that networking is about “getting something.” People can sense when you are just talking to them to see what you can get from them. Instead, you want to focus on building relationships – finding out about what a person does professionally, how they got there, where they see themselves going, what they enjoy doing in their free time. Does that sound a bit like what you are already doing when you are making new friends? It should, because it’s the exact same thing – just on a professional level!
In Wednesday’s blog we will discuss how to get over that initial awkward hurdle of starting a networking conversation!