If networking feels intimidating or unnatural to you, you’re not the only one. But all it takes is a mindset shift to get over those feelings. After all, networking is about connecting to people in your industry and fostering relationships. Once you get over the awkward hump, you’ll see how beneficial it can be to your career and your overall mental outlook.
You’ve Been Networking Your Whole Life
Networking is just business jargon for meeting new people. The good news is that you already know more people than you think—friends, family, former co-workers, and so on.
Don’t discount these people. You might be surprised who they know and what connections they have. Reach out to them or reconnect with people you’ve fallen out of touch with. Even if they’re not in your industry, they could very well know someone who is. Also, look to your LinkedIn network. It’s a good place to find people who are also looking to expand their network.
Remember to actually reconnect with them and not make it all about your inquest. Networking often gets a bad rap because people think about it as using other people for information.
Focus on Building Relationships
If you’re the shy type and that still sounds terrifying, know that it’s more expected in the business world and people will be happy to help you out.
It’s not like approaching a stranger on the street or even at a mixer because you’ll have a purpose. Your purpose shouldn’t be to just outright ask for a job, though.
You may be looking for a referral, a reference, or general info about your chosen career path. Even just having the general goal of learning more about your industry is a legitimate excuse to reach out to someone.
Contacting someone with the goal of having an ongoing relationship can also take the pressure off—you don’t have to ask them all the questions at once. In fact, plan on getting to know them with a few of your questions:
- What made you choose this line of work?
- What do you love about it?
- What do you do in your off-time?
Depending on your level of comfort with this person, that last question might not feel appropriate. But once you get to know someone a bit, finding out if you have similar hobbies can be a great excuse to meet them in the real world and solidify an ongoing relationship. Which brings us to the next point:
Maintain Your Network
You won’t be able to solidify a strong bond with every contact you make. That would be a full-time job in itself. But when you recognize people who you like and will be good for you in the long run, it’s more than worth it to stay in regular touch with them.
Whether it’s a simple phone call or a regular tee time, maintaining regular contact with a few strong ties will help you make networking an ongoing part of your life. Every time they expand your network, you expand yours by proxy. And it goes both ways.
Networking isn’t about using people for your selfish gains. It’s about helping each other out and expanding the horizons of your entire network.
Expand Your Network with SVS
You can increase your network’s capacity many times over by partnering with one of the fastest growing companies in the Bay Area. SVS Group is looking for talented candidates to connect with their clients.
Find a job with SVS today!