You will find opportunities all the time, every day and everywhere, to use the power of networking to build key connections and accelerate your job search. Of course, there are the typical networking events such as job fairs, business functions, on the golf course or tennis court, in association meetings, and even organized networking meetings.
But there are strategic partnering/networking opportunities in other meetings as well. Perhaps you’re worried that people will think it’s inappropriate for you to be job search networking everywhere.
Are they right? Yes, if you network the way most job seekers do!
The first rule of networking: Relationship first
Often job seekers are only focused on their agenda to get something. They don’t take time to create a connection with other people.
If you are truly interested in other people, and ask them about their business and themselves, two things will happen. They will enjoy talking to you because you are one of those rare creatures who “listens”. And they will give you information that can lead to opportunities for you. Just let them talk, and listen for the information that will be helpful to you. Perhaps you’ll also hear how you can be of assistance to them as well. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to achieve mutual goals with your networking partners.
Every contact in any setting can turn into a tremendous opportunity to gather and share valuable information. When you are talking to people, if the conversation has gone well, regardless of the topic, you can always say something like: “I’m thinking of moving on to a marketing director position at a company that makes or distributes consumer electronics. What advice would you have for me?”
If this part of the conversation yields results, you might also ask “Who do you know who works in a consumer electronics firm such as (company A and company B)?”
How to know when to ask
You will know if the time is right to ask these questions. You may not have built enough rapport in every conversation to ask, so do what feels right in the moment. Don’t let your fear of rejection stop you here. It’s to your advantage to ask these questions as often as possible. You never know!