How to Network like a Champion Print E-mail

No matter what your job search strategy is, if networking isn’t included in your game-plan, you’ve already reduced your chances of getting the interview you desire. While an impressive resume and cover letter will undoubtedly set you apart from other candidates, knowing an influential person on the inside is a strong way to land the interview. As a result, today’s job search proves that ‘who you know’ is still an important factor. Therefore, it’s time to brush up on your networking skills!

Although a lot of job seekers understand the important benefits of networking, not many know how to network effectively. Good networking occurs when the networker masters the balance of talking and listening, in an effort to build a lasting impression. It’s no secret that people love to talk about themselves, but when making a connection with a person of influence, being an active listener will do more for you. Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips that will help you network like a champion:

Take it easy on the drinks

First things first, make sure you limit your drinks. Yes, it’s a social event, but it certainly isn’t a party. Nothing is worse than trying to connect with someone when you’re intoxicated. You may slur your words or even smell like booze. It’s common sense, but if you are going to be drinking, make sure you do so in moderation.

Ask questions and prove your worth with solutions

A talented networker is one that comes equipped with thought provoking questions. A good question to ask someone is: What is your greatest industry challenge? Not only does this question make the respondent explain his/her answer in-depth, it also shows that you are someone who cares to learn more about his/her struggle. An even more talented networker will explain how he/she would solve those industry problems. However, remember that being an active listener is more beneficial than being an active talker.

Get to know everyone

Some networkers will research the guest list prior to attending an event. They do this with the intention of learning everything they can about a guest and using their findings to their advantage. While this can be a good strategy, make sure you don’t overlook everyone else in the room. You should make it a point to get around the room while conversing with as many people as you can. Even if you don’t have the same industry in common, you may be able to connect with someone through common interests. You never know what that can do for your job search in the future.

Help yourself by helping others

As a job seeker, you’re understandably thinking about bettering your own position prior to attending a networking event. But what can help you make a lasting impression is what you can do for someone else. Maybe you know someone that can provide a business solution to the person you are networking with. If it’s okay, introduce them to each other. If any occasion for you to help someone presents itself, it would be beneficial for you to jump at the opportunity. Volunteering is a great example. Not only is volunteering another good way to show that you care about the well-being of others, but you can also use your experiences to connect with people who may be influential to you in the future.

Bring business cards and follow up

No matter where you go, you should always carry a few business cards in your wallet. However, at a networking event, you should carry a lot more than a ‘few.’ A business card is the all-important sign of professionalism when networking. It will also help connections remember your name. Distributing them to the appropriate people will help you in your following-up efforts.

Following-up shows that you are serious about maintaining connections and having discussions. Whether it’s an e-mail or a phone call, follow-up with the people you meet as a way to show your appreciation for meeting them. Using social media is also a good way to follow-up with people.

Using these tips, you’ll be networking like a champion in no time!