You decided it is time to move on and have a new job or maybe you are in the middle of switching your career. You have put together a great resume and a cover letter and you have started searching for jobs. Now, it is time to connect with other individuals who can help you get an interview from the corporations that you want to work for. The best way for getting these interviews is through networking.
Networking is one of the most important steps of finding a job nowadays because it increases your chances of getting hired. It’s always better if you meet face-to-face with employers in networking events or job fairs so you can show your personality, mention your experiences briefly and make an impact on the employer. As a result, employers have a better idea of who you are and what you are looking for.
So how do you become good at networking? I hear many people saying ‘I am shy, I don’t know how to approach other people and start a conversation’ or ‘I am scared of not expressing myself well during the conversation’. If you are shy or scared to network with strangers, follow the 4 steps below. Don’t worry, being good at networking is not as hard as you think. You can be a great networker with a little bit of practice.
1. Start joining clubs such as a sports club or a book club or go to meet-ups that you find interesting so that you can start meeting other people in your community. It is always easier to network with people in a social setting compared to networking with recruiters or employers in formal events. People are always more open to meet others in a social event. Make a goal for yourself to meet at least one new person every day. By this way, you will be able to overcome your shyness and become more comfortable meeting new people.
2. Make your personal pitch ready. A personal pitch is a short summary defining your personal brand. You can develop your personal pitch by searching the internet and looking at examples of how to write a personal pitch. Keep in mind that your personal pitch should be 30 to 60 seconds long and should clearly state who you are, what your experiences and interests are and what you are looking for.
3. Practice, practice and practice. You can only become good at networking by practicing. You can start practice networking by finalizing your personal pitch. Go in front of a mirror and talk out loud to figure out the best way of introducing yourself in less than a minute. Then, use this pitch to introduce yourself to strangers. For example; you can use your personal pitch to introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you while riding the subway. The more you practice your personal pitch the more you own it and the more natural it sounds.
4. Finally, you are ready to start going to job fairs and networking events. You should attend as many networking events and talk to as many recruiters or industry professionals as you can. If you are in a job fair, make a list of the companies that you want to network with. However, do not start networking from the company that you are dreaming to work for. Instead, the first company that you network with should have a lower priority on your list. Remember the importance of practicing. Practice networking with a few companies first and afterwards, go to your dream company to make your impression and get the interview you deserve!
Ceren Cubukcu is a top 5 bestselling author of Make Your American Dream A Reality: How to Find a Job as an International Student in the United States. She recently founded her consulting business to help more international students find jobs in the US in addition to her self-service digital event ticketing platform, Etkinlik Fabrikam (My Event Factory), to offer her webinars. You can follow her via Facebook or contact her via www.cerencubukcu.com/contact.