Networking is a skill that most people realize they should be using to further their career but don’t actually utilize regularly.
At the end of the day, introducing yourself to new people whether they work in your industry or not can not only help to expand your contacts list, it helps to make you more comfortable in social settings which can only improve your ability to interview.
If public speaking is not your favorite skill, don't worry. There are plenty of options available that don't involve you having to talk.
Here are some ideas to socially network to further your career:
- 1. Join a networking group. Yes, they exist! Look for industry or job-specific groups that cater to people in your line of work with the express purpose of putting like-minded professionals in touch with each other.
2. Look for seminars and conferences that you can attend whether they are work related or not. These are great opportunities because they often set out time specifically for networking as part of the event.
3. Try to meet people to speak with outside your industry. Don’t just focus on your own industry. Look for people who work in related and even unrelated industries to meet. At a minimum, you’ll get more comfortable speaking in a social setting.
4. Trade business cards with people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve traded business cards with someone who I figured I’d never bother contacting but then ended up needing to speak with in the future. Trading business cards is a great way to expand your contact list especially if you find yourself in need of specific people to contact in the future.
5. Look for ways to contribute what you know to get your name out there and prove your worth. One of the best ways to introduce yourself to people is to teach them what you know. Write articles on the Internet or for an industry publication, offer to teach a course or a class on your area of expertise or become a mentor for someone. When you give up your time and help others, it gets noticed.
If you don’t feel comfortable with public speaking, start slowly by looking for opportunities that don’t involve you having to talk much. To get more comfortable with public speaking, consider joining a Toastmasters club or other group that can help make you more confident.
In the meantime, consider Internet-based networking channels, attending seminars and other opportunities to get you started.
Carl Mueller is an Internet entrepreneur and professional recruiter. Carl has helped many job searchers find their dream career and would like to help clear up some of the job search myths that exist while helping people avoid common mistakes that cost them jobs.
Visit Carl's website to separate yourself from other job searchers: http://www.find-your-dream-career.com
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