By Michelle Dora
Networking is a very important aspect of job search. You need to have connections in your chosen field in order to do well and grow in it. Having networks alone is not enough knowing how to use them matters a lot more.
It is however important to note that, having networks doesn’t mean that you will automatically succeed in your career – that is dependent on your effort.
Ways To Make The Most Of Your Networks
1. Respond to prompts
With LinkedIn this has become easier because every day you will get notifications on new posts by your connections, change in positions and things like that. What you need to do to ensure you keep your connections is to respond to as many of these prompts as you can.
Congratulate a connection on a new job, like someone’s post as long as it is in line with the image you want to portray.
This will ensure that you remain on the minds of your connections which means they will think of you when an opportunity you qualify for comes up and it also opens up a door for more conversations which might help you land your next job.
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2. Keep in touch
It is more difficult to ask for help from someone you have not talked to in years than it is from someone you talk to everyday. The same rule applies to networking. The connections you talk to most frequently are more likely to help you find a job than those you don’t keep in touch with.
You need to make an effort to talk to your networks on a regular basis because this creates a good relationship between you and forms stronger bonds. This is a good thing because you will be the person they think of when an opportunity comes up.
3. Nurture your existing relationships
Through your day to day life you have come across very many people who can be your networks. You need to ensure you don’t let these relationships wither and die because you never know when they may come in handy.
Former employers, colleagues, friends, lecturers and more can be very good networks if you treat them well and maintain a good relationship with them.
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4. Do your homework
Attending networking events such as seminars, meet ups and more can be a great way to form new networks that will be beneficial to your career. However, you need to do a bit of research before attending such events.
This means finding out some of the people that will be attending and digging up as much information about them career wise as you can. This will ensure you don’t go in blind and can focus your time talking to the people you feel will be more beneficial to have as networks because you can’t talk to everyone at these events.
5. Make every conversation personal
Remember networks are human beings and you need to treat them as such. Don’t focus so much in the professional and business aspect and forget to be friendly. However, you need to strike a balance because too much of the personal can also hurt your chances at making a new connection.
6. Pay it forward
Networking is about forming mutually beneficial relationships. If you are too focused with yourself instead of others, you are not doing it right. When you meet someone, ask them questions and avoid dominating the whole conversation. It is fine to answer questions they have about you, but don’t dwell so much on yourself.
You should also not only focus on how the people there will help you but also how you can help others as well. When you help people they will more inclined to help you as well.
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You can have over 100 networks but still be unable to land a single job. This is because just having the networks is not enough. You need to know how to use those networks to advance your career and build mutually beneficial relationships with people in your industry.