Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 10th 2015 Contents B10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Do you remember your mother warning you
over and over again when you were a young
child: "Never speak to strangers"?
As adults, however, in order to progress in our
careers we need to continually reach out and meet
new people and develop new relationships. This is
what we call "networking." Yet, for many of us, the
fear of strangers we learned as children is hard to
Surprisingly, a seemingly gregarious state-wide
office holder recently confided, "One of my least
favorite things is going into a room of strangers,
going from table to table to introduce myself."
However, because he is willing to confront his dis-
comfort on a regular basis, he has become a leader
beloved by many. And, if you make a plan and stick
to it, you too can become adept at mastering situations
both in-person and through social networks online
that will be of great benefit to you.
You are naturally a part of many networks already:
your family, friends, co-workers, alumni or profes-
sional organizations, neighborhood or religious groups
-- the list goes on and on. Any group of which you
are a part can be considered a network.
Most of us are fine in any of these family, social,
or community settings. But when it comes to net-
working for a job we panic. In this context we forget
too often that networking is about building productive
relationships that in turn can lead to great job oppor-
One of the biggest "networking failures" is when
you only think that networking is all about you
getting others to help you get a job.
A worldwide organization, Business Networking
International (BNI), continually reminds its members
that effective networking is when you "give to get."
In other words, you will be most successful getting
what you want when you extend yourself for the
other person before asking or expecting anything
To be successful networking for a new job, consider
crafting a well-thought out strategy with these ele-
1. Understand Who You Are
In order to project yourself outward, and draw
people to you at the same time, it is critical that you
understand "who you are"
. In today s parlance, that
means developing a succinct, identifiable and unique
personal brand. You can be confident of yourself as
the professional you are -- and project yourself as
such, even if you aren t currently receiving a paycheck.
When someone asks you to tell about yourself you
don t need to say, "I m unemployed" or "My back-
ground is..." and continue with a long story. You can
simply offer your brand: "I m a such-and-such pro-
fessional, with expertise in A, B, and C."
2. Understand What You Have to Offer - and
Give It Freely
Delivering information of value makes you stand
out from everyone else. It is easier than you might
imagine to make important contributions to those
you network with on LinkedIn s Groups, or at live
events. Ask an intelligent question about what the
speaker or writer is trying to say, or shed some light
on the issue from a different vantage point.
Better yet, write an article that will be of interest
to others that highlights your own knowledge about
your professional field, a particular tool or approach
you ve taken that gets results. Relate what you ve
learned through study, or research you ve conducted.
Offer to lead a program at an alumni dinner, speak
at a professional symposium, or in any other context
where you can make a contribution. Contributors
are seen as leaders, and leaders are seen as good
"hires" by recruiters and executives.
3. Integrate Your Knowledge and Networks
Make yourself a pivotal individual by introducing
people you know, or information you learn, in one
context with people you know in a different con-
You might, for example, be in any number of
LinkedIn groups that deal with your particular skills
doing AAA in industry X. If you are looking to move
into another industry, explore how you can share
what you learned about the skill in one place
as a new way of doing something in that new
4. Get Ahead Now by Focusing on the
Often, people only think about networking
when they need something: a job. But if you
approach people with an air of desperation,
they will flee before you. "Yes, but this is what
I need, NOW!" you might respond. Of course
it would be great if you could snap your fingers
and someone would wave a job offer in front
of you. But in reality, it rarely happens that way.
An often-used rule of thumb suggests that
you should anticipate spending a month looking
for a job for each $10,000 of base salary you
expect to earn.
It will take time, but if you become an active
and purposeful networker, it will ultimately pay
off. You will be a stronger, more valuable pro-
fessional for your next employer when you take
the time to learn, to teach, and most especially
engage with an ever-broadening network of
your peer professionals.
Links Archive November 9th 2015 November 11th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page