Overcome Your Fear of Networking in a Few Simple Steps
Posting your resume on a job site? Checking job posting sites everyday? Submitting your resume to a company website? If this all sounds familiar to you, I have some bad news for you. You’re suffering from “hide behind laptop” disease. The remedy? Get off your butt and start meeting people in person. After all, there is a real world beyond your laptop.
In today’s job market, networking is a necessity. I understand that networking can be intimidating. But if you really want that job, you’ll have to work for it. Otherwise, the next guy will not hesitate to beat you in getting that job.
First of all, reach out to your personal and professional network. Start by catching up with old friends and colleagues. If you’d like to put some feelers out before doing some serious networking, send out a mass email to your family and close friends about your objectives and see who bites.
For a more optimal response rate, pick up the phone and call your friends and family members. Tell them what you are looking for and see if they know anyone that can help.
Meanwhile, update your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, create one. You just may surprise yourself with how many people you know professionally.
When using LinkedIn, beware of recruiters and headhunters. I haven’t had direct experience with headhunters but I’ve heard some horror stories. LinkedIn is a great way to post your resume and assign a face to a name. (For those who do not know what LinkedIn is – it’s basically a professional version of Facebook.)
Once you’ve accumulated some connections, you should go through them. Is there a company you are interested in? Is there a company that you’ve never heard of? Do some research about those companies and send your connections a message. Tell them that you’re interested in learning more about their company. If possible, set up a meeting over coffee or a phone call. Other sources of possible contacts include Facebook and networking functions for professional organizations or clubs.
Don’t forget – beggars can’t be choosers. Even if the job does not sound appealing to you, always pursue the lead. You never know what might happen and you don’t want to be the one that shuts that door.
“Don’t burn your bridges behind you.” – Proverb