Why There is No Best Way to NetworkApril 2nd, 2014 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »
If 70% of jobs are obtained through networking, it’s no wonder job seekers put such an emphasis on building a diverse web of contacts in their respective industries. But is there really a one-size-fits-all guide to building a network?
There is no single equation that fits the networking variable
With the amount of time and energy the career resources world has put into writing content about the best ways to network, you would think that they would have it down to an exact science by now. If developers can write algorithms that predict shopping habits, producing targeted ads that reach the maximum amount of people, why can’t they apply the same practices when building a strong network? The answer is simple:
There is no best way to network.
Play to your strengths
Networking is all about feeling comfortable. You will always make the best impression on people when you are in your element. Whether you are using social media sites to network, collecting business cards at social outings, or volunteering your time at charitable events, you are still branching out and establishing meaningful relationships with new people.
Don’t feel obligated to network in person. If meeting people over the internet is your forte, then stick to it. The job search is filled with enough stress. There is no sense in forcing yourself to attend social events for the sake of making contact with others.
What can you do for others?
A great misconception about networking is that it is a means to collect people who can help you get a job. Networking is about what you can do for your contacts as much as it is about what they can do for you. If people only connected with one another for selfish reasons then no one would benefit from the practice.
Go to bat for your contacts and, in the end, they will step up to the plate for you as well.
Where to look
Industry Events: A quick search for events in your area will almost always yield local tech conventions, hackathons, and contests where you can meet people in your field.
Online: LinkedIn is by far the most powerful networking tool on the web. Setting up a profile on the site is easy and can help you to connect with people across the country.
Your Past: When was the last time you checked in at your alma mater? Get in touch with old college friends via your Alumni Association or online group.
By Kevin Withers