How to Network Your Way to Your Dream Job
You know you’re supposed to network. You know you need to network. You’re a networking believer! But the thought of actually networking sends chills down your spine.
Ok, maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe you’re just feeling overwhelmed or have no idea where to start. Thanks to the Younger Women’s Task Force (YWTF) webinar, I Hate Networking … But It Landed Me My Dream Job, we have some ideas on how to get started and become a power networker.
Here are some of our big takeaways from our webinar.
1. Keep in mind that you’re already networking.
Hear us out! You have friends and interests and ideas to share with the world. Reminding yourself of this is the first step in building networking confidence. Go ahead and ask a friend if she knows someone who could help you. And then reach out to that person. You’ll never know what can happen unless you try.
2. Embrace networking opportunities.
When people offer to help you or meet with you, say yes! They wouldn’t say it if they didn’t mean it, and you’re an interesting, competent person who has a lot to offer. So go get some coffee!
3. Don’t forget that it’s ok to be awkward.
You’ll survive. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow, and it’s never as bad as you imagine it will be. And even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned or hoped for, now you have a great story.
4. Say “no, but …” when you can’t say yes.
Sometimes people are going to ask you to do things you don’t want to do or can’t do, and it’s all right to say no. It can be vital to say no! But you want to keep the connection open, so make sure to offer up an alternative, something you are comfortable doing.
Take the next step.
5. Follow your interests.
You can connect with potential job leads the same ways you connect with your friends, so join groups (like YWTF) near you. Meetup is also a great place to find folks who share your interests (but seriously, don’t forget about YWTF).
6. Be mindful of people’s time.
Everyone’s busy. Make sure that you have questions for or things to discuss with the person you have invited to meet with you. Think of it as a low-stakes job interview. You’re not going to be hired immediately, but if you give the impression of being engaging, curious, and competent, you will be remembered later.
7. Cultivate a reputation for good work.
Work hard at your current job, and be respectful of everyone you meet and interact with. This includes e-mail correspondence, too. You might never get to the in-person meeting stage, but that doesn’t mean you’re not making an impression.
Here’s hoping these tips and the YWTF webinar have you well on your way to networking success.