3NETWORKING – THE PREPARATION The Goal of Networking The goal of networking should be to help other people.Yes, it would be nice if they helped you out as well, but networking is a two–way street. And your side of the street is all about helping others, not asking them to help you. Asking for favours should only become a possibility once you have learned more about the person and provided some value to them.It’s far more important to understand their needs before you tell them about your needs.Your goals should not be on the forefront of your mind. You’re trying to develop a relationship with someone, which means you should be thinking about them. It’s your job to understand the people in your network, where they are coming from, and what’s important to them.
4You don’t need to know the most people, just the right people. Setting expectationsYou don’t need to know the most people, just the right people.There is no need to shotgun your business cards across the industry or to pepper everyone with s. Instead, focus on finding people that are relevant to you. As time goes on, you can decide if the interests that you share with someone are worth pursuing further. It’s better to have 5 people willing to help you out than it is to have 500 that simply know your name.Don’t expect anything.The fact that you reached out and made contact with someone does not put them in your debt. No one is required to “pay you back.” Instead of approaching networking with the goal of gaining favours, try reaching out with curiosity. Contact interesting and relevant people and see what happens. Some of them will respond and some of them won’t. Learn about the people that follow up. Find out what makes them interesting and how you can help them — and don’t expect anything in return.
5Don’t leave networking to chance. Take some time and define what you are looking for in your network. Every once and awhile you’ll stumble across someone amazing on accident, but it’s a lot easier to find who you’re looking for if you know who they are in the first place. Be proactive and create a list of people that you want to contact on purpose.Go beyond your industry.Connect with people on a variety of levels from a wide range of areas. By growing your network outside of the usual areas you will be more valuable to people that are in your immediate industry. The people you work with have personalities and multiple interests, right? With a broad network you can be the person that connects people across industries.
6Don’t dismiss anyone as irrelevant. Maybe you don’t think a local blogger would be a good contact because you work at a medical practice. However, when you open a new branch and you want to let people know about it, you’ll be glad you reached out to someone with an audience.Quantify how much time you’re going to take.People are busy and when someone new starts talking to them, the first thing that comes to their mind is “How long is this person going to talk to me?” or “How much time is this going to take?”Address those concerns from the start by saying something like, “Hi. I have one item that I’d like to briefly discuss with you. It should only take two minutes. Do you have time now?” Asking questions like this not only shows that you respect their time, it also gives you the option of speaking with them later if they are too busy now.
7Realise that you, too, have something to offer. When you’re just starting out in a career, it’s easy to be intimidated by the concept of networking. After all, you’re a new graduate and your knowledge of business may be limited, and your contacts are likely to be already established professionally. What do you have to offer that they might value and why would they make time for you?It’s simple. Most seasoned business people understand the concept of networking. They know that what goes around comes around. Everyone has had to start somewhere. We all remember the folks, who took time to counsel, guide and direct us on our first forays into the business world. It’s a debt that’s never really repaid, unless it’s through helping someone else just starting a career.
8Make networking a priority. If you’re in the throes of a job search, your first priority should be networking. Create a list of people you know and ask them for ideas, referrals and contacts. Generate a buzz about your abilities and your job search, and before you know it, people will be calling you for networking ideas.After you’ve accepted a job, it’s easy to heave a sigh of relief and assume your networking days are over—at least until your next job search. Think again. Every contact you make while working is a potential jewel in your networking crown.
9Be sure to have a plan:Be very clear about what you want to get from any interaction. Ask yourself: What is the ideal outcome for this interaction? How does it look? What are the specific things I want to happen? If you have an idea of where you're headed, you're more likely to get there.
10Use your university alumni service to find people working for companies you are interested in
11Use your university alumni service to find people working for companies you are interested in: Use your university alumni service to find people working for companies you are interested inRemember that networking also starts before the black-tie events. Think about using your university alumni service. They may have graduates who work in firms that you are interested in, and be willing to connect you. I think this informal contact through a network you both belong to by default, coming from the same university, it helps build some rapport from the outset. Invite them for a coffee and say you are interested in the industry. Come prepared to ask about the culture, interesting changes to their industry and role - often you will hear lingo people in the industry use as shorthand. Pay attention to this, as if you can get to know the lingo it is a powerful sense of connection - if you are able to demonstrate you know what it meant in the industry.
12How to Find High-Value Networking Contacts with Social Media Networking is also about getting the most out of your existing contacts:How to Find High-Value Networking Contacts with Social MediaThe focus of a winning job search is to engage in conversation as quickly and as often as you can with people who can hire you. Social media outlets including Facebook and LinkedIn have made finding and opening dialogue with these people much easier. The most valuable networking contacts for your job search are the people who:Hold job titles one, two, and three levels above your ownHold job titles similar to your ownHold job titles that interact with yoursWork as corporate recruiters and headhuntersThese are the people who are most likely to know of suitable job openings, and are the most likely to have the authority to hire you. This is common sense -- the challenge, of course, is how to find them.
13The New Social Networking Attitude You might be asking yourself, “Who wants to connect with someone like me?”The answer is that professionals have always known that strong networks are crucial to any smart job search or career move. But before social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, no one had the time for extensive networking, and even if they did, they had no idea where to go for it. That has since changed.“Most people now are professionally connected in some fashion, and increasingly through their social networks,” says Mike Squires, a senior technical recruiter at PayPal.Connections aren’t just revealed through social media. Building professional connections that might otherwise have been impossible is now a very real possibility. Doing so takes the right attitude, though. Be bold, but not brazen. Strive for a goal you aim to reach via social networking. Whether that goal is to land a new job, or establish a relationship with a seasoned professional allowing for picking his or her brain, don’t get discouraged if you reach a dead-end. The beauty of this newly interconnected landscape is there are numerous other outlets to explore if one proves fruitless. That’s the attitude.
14You can use Twitter as the starting point to build a strong business network. Are you being followed by people you know well and who trust you? If so, you can tweet asking for specific introductions which may be of use, as well as pertinent advice. The other thing to do to raise your profile in your industry is to regularly comment on, retweet and ask question of those people you have identified as relevant and influential. Get them to know and respect you, and to want to know more about you. To do that, you have to support them proactivelyThere are two parts to networking on Twitter:First, you need to connect with the people you want to get to know.Second, you need to find a way to establish relationships with the right people and get beyond the scope of Twitter.Just like in the offline world, you’ll find people with different styles of communication and different levels of people skills.
15You can use Twitter as the starting point to build a strong business network. Are you being followed by people you know well and who trust you? If so, you can tweet asking for specific introductions which may be of use, as well as pertinent advice. The other thing to do to raise your profile in your industry is to regularly comment on, retweet and ask question of those people you have identified as relevant and influential. Get them to know and respect you, and to want to know more about you. To do that, you have to support them proactivelyThere are two parts to networking on Twitter:First, you need to connect with the people you want to get to know.Second, you need to find a way to establish relationships with the right people and get beyond the scope of Twitter.Just like in the offline world, you’ll find people with different styles of communication and different levels of people skills.
16Your first impression always counts: Even on Twitter. Others will notice content on your Twitter profile page: your Twitter handle, your photo, your name, the page you link to and your bio. And they will also notice the actions you take.Follow. Do you have approximately the same number of followers as the number of people following you?Autos follow. Do you automatically follow everyone?Welcome messages. Do you send a welcome message? Is it a personalised message or one that looks like an automated message? Does it promote something or does it show you want to connect and care?There are no absolute guide lines on what you should do. You simply need to act in an appropriate way for the people you want to connect with. Twitter monitoring will help you find out how to make the right first impression. Regular monitoring will also keep you up to date on any changing trends in Twitter etiquette so you can adjust your tactics when needed.
17Do you feel uncomfortable about reaching out to others on Twitter Do you feel uncomfortable about reaching out to others on Twitter? Retweeting is a great way to start networking but you usually need to do a bit more to get a response and start a dialogue. For example, add some personal comments to the retweet. Notice how others engage with people and copy the ones you like.As you monitor Twitter and other social media platforms, you’ll notice more conversations. Show others you are paying attention to their conversations.When you notice someone’s birthday on Facebook, send a “Happy Birthday” with on Twitter to show you are paying attention to them.When you come across a great LinkedIn question, link to it and give of the author on Twitter.When you read a great blog post, share the link and take the time to find and mention the in your tweet.
18The more you show others you are listening to them, the more they’ll pay attention to you. After getting on other people’s radar, it’s time to take the networking up a notch and try to begin a real conversation.One of the easiest ways to do this is to reply to a tweet and add value.Add useful information.Ask a good question.Show you are sincerely interested in the topic.What can you do when networking opportunities just do not seem to pop up naturally?Create a reason to network with the people who interest you! Tweetups and Twitter discussions are a great way to do this.Another easy first step is to start a public list of people you recommend on Twitter. As you come across people to add to this list, give them a shout out to show your recognition. You’ll find it much easier to connect with people this way.
19LinkedIn & Facebook Groups The people who join LinkedIn have awoken to the fact that deep and relevant professional networks are not only desirable — for reasons that extend far beyond job search —but also are surprisingly easy to foster. One of LinkedIn’s strengths is its thousands of special interest groups that encourage you to communicate and connect with other professionals who share a common interest. On LinkedIn, you can join up to 50 different groups. Networkers on Facebook also have the invaluable asset of specialised group pages. Businesses and professional organizations host Facebook Like pages that allow the like- minded to congregate and share ideas and news.Twitter also can be used similarly for connecting with professionals of similar drive and interest. Some groups engage in “tweets-ups,” conversations with a particular hash-tagYou get on board with this new way of networking by becoming a member of groups relevant to your profession, but don’t just sign up and troll for contacts. One of the best ways to utilise LinkedIn is to participate in the many discussion forums within the groups you join -- the people you want noticing you. Make time to follow these discussions. Participation in discussion forums gives you a way to advertise who you are and what you do without appearing to do so. With LI groups, anyone can start a discussion and join in.
20Other ways to boost your social media presence include: Make comments and “like” the posts of people who are high-value networking targets, then ask them to connect.Start discussions of your own. The easiest way is to post a link to a professionally relevant article, blog or video. Then connect with the people who comment -- that they clicked on your link demonstrates a common interest.Search the group’s membership list for high-value job titles, and request a connection based on a shared profession and group. You can’t connect to just anyone on LinkedIn. You need to share a group or a contact in common with your target if you wish to connect with her.* You can also make high-value networking contacts by searching the LinkedIn database and keying in a job title and location. For example, an accountant living in Boston might use these search terms: “Manager Accounting Boston.”
21Let other good LinkedIn profiles inspire your own: Have a good look at LinkedIn and do some extensive research. Compare and contrast what you believe are strong and professional profiles, and those that are not so punchy. Build your profile using the best of what you have seen online.The profiles that show up in your search — and there will be thousands —will include people holding this and similar titles, plus headhunters and recruiters who work in either this same location and/or area of professional expertise. Your next step is to check relevant profiles to see if you have mutual connections that can justify a connection request. Sometimes these profiles will contain an address. This makes contact even easier.Shared membership in a group counts as an existing connection, and LinkedIn will tell you about group memberships you have in common. If you don’t have a group in common, you can simply join one of the groups in which your target “accounting manager” belongs. Remember to check the person’s “contact info,” listed under “education” at the top of the profile.
22Tips for using Twitter to network: Are you being followed by people you know well and who trust you? If so, you can tweet asking for specific introductions which may be of use, as well as pertinent advice. The other thing to do to raise your profile in your industry is to regularly comment on, retweet and ask question of those people you have identified as relevant and influential. Get them to know and respect you, and to want to know more about you. To do that, you have to support them proactively first.
23Cross-Reference Companies and Job Postings When your research identifies companies of interest or you come across relevant job postings, you can also perform a LinkedIn database search. For example, you find a job for an accountant in The City of London at Barclays and do a search using “Accounting Manager Barclays Bank.” You will likely find people with the exact title or one similar who worked with Barclays – or, at least have connections to someone who does.These results will often give you direct contacts to potential hiring managers, or at worst the people who know the potential hiring managers. Make a connection request, and you are very close to getting into a conversation with someone who has the job opening and the authority to give you a job.Always believe networking is not about only meeting new people, but making the most of your existing relationships. Ask them the question "Who do you know who...?" and start to leverage their networks so you move out exponentially
24Swot up before you go to events so you're prepared:In terms of your approach to these events, it's important to prepare beforehand so you know who you'll be likely to be meeting (especially if there are keynote speakers or confirmed guests) and what it is they do. LinkedIn is good for this, and it will help you direct useful and relevant questions to them. Make sure you follow up afterwards with an or LinkedIn message - say thank you, or ask their advice on something you didn't get a chance to cover.
25Join associations and professional bodies. Join associations and professional bodies and try and serve on a committee so you have something in common with its members. That will make it easier for you to start a conversation with another member since you will have goals in common. You may also want to select a committee that will encourage you to move beyond your comfort zone and into a new skill set
26Become a regular.Once you join an association, go to meetings regularly. It might take six months for people to start recognizing you and saying hello, so you may be uncomfortable when you first start attending, but just concentrate on what you are learning. It’s okay to be quiet in your first few meetings and, if you keep showing up, month after month, eventually you’re going to recognize other “regulars,” and you’ll feel generally more comfortable. You’ll soon be communicating without focusing on
27Become a regular.Once you join an association, go to meetings regularly. It might take six months for people to start recognizing you and saying hello, so you may be uncomfortable when you first start attending, but just concentrate on what you are learning. It’s okay to be quiet in your first few meetings and, if you keep showing up, month after month, eventually you’re going to recognize other “regulars,” and you’ll feel generally more comfortable. You’ll soon be communicating without focusing on
28When trying to find how to get into the right circles, we'd always suggest starting closer to home. Talk to your family and friends. Find out who they know who is in the industry, and ask if they can introduce you to them. Try to build a relationship with them and once they feel confident enough in their relationship with you, they'll behappy to introduce you to the right people in the right circles.