Four Tips for Networking with Confidence
By Greg Simpson on November 21, 2014
When it comes to our careers, many of us are reluctant to market or sell ourselves—often feeling uncomfortable touting our own accomplishments. A self-effacing attitude may be charming in certain social circumstances, but in the job search you must be able to articulate your strengths without a hint of self-consciousness or discomfort. In fact, how you convey your accomplishments can significantly impact your success in generating enthusiasm within your network. Keep in mind the old quote usually attributed to baseball great Dizzy Dean: “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” You’ve done the work; now get the word out.
Knowing what networking isn’t will help increase your confidence and comfort:
- Networking isn’t asking for a job. Networking is relationship building. It’s a low-key, low-risk conversation to gather information, leads, referrals, advice and counsel. Offering a networking partner your marketing plan with a list of targeted companies can spur discussion and provide you with names of company insiders. If your contact should ask, “Are you looking for a job?” Your response should be, “Yes, ultimately; but what I am looking for now is the right job.” This simple comment clarifies that you are seeking input and not asking someone to commit to an obligation.
- Networking isn’t limited to job search. In fact, it appears disingenuous to only begin networking when you need a job. Instead, as a part of your ongoing career management strategy, it should be a regular habit of engaging on social networking sites, exchanging information and offering assistance.
- Networking isn’t making cold calls. With the abundance of networking opportunities available via social media sites, it’s possible you’ll find that you already have the connections you need to meet the right people. By soliciting referral names and introductions from your first degree contacts, you’ll soon be making warm calls rather than calling people cold.
- Networking isn’t limited to just business colleagues. Besides business associates, former colleagues or vendors, consider your neighbors, relatives, former classmates, or community connections. Personal service providers (insurance agent, lawyer, hair stylist, etc.) are also great leads since they interact with a diverse cross section of the community. While they may not know your industry or field, these people have friends, acquaintances or clients that could help.
By understanding what networking isn’t, you’ll quickly be able to expand your network and your reach. For more of the latest insights into networking through social media, download LHH’s free report, Get Social and Get Hired.
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