Networking: The Basics

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Networking is an invaluable skill when hunting for a job or advancing in a career.

It connects you with informed people within your field of interest and with 32% of Australian jobs being spread via word of mouth it greatly increases your chances of finding unadvertised job opportunities and employment.

It’s about people

The core of a job hunt is all about people.

People create jobs. They make the final judgement on your resume. They provide references and conduct interviews.

Networking is the identification and influence of personal connections in the service of getting a job or advancing your career. It is utilising your relationships with people in a beneficial way.

The good news is, you already have a network. You have family, friends, and maybe even professional contacts that combine to make up a diverse network of opportunities.

So how do we start?

Define your goals

First thing’s first. You need to know what you want before you can get it.

It’s time for some critical introspection.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • Do you have a dream job?
  • What makes you awesome?
  • What skills do you have?

The aim is to ask yourself questions that will help identify what you are good at and what you are interested in.

Once you have some answers, think over them. Where do your passions and skills overlap? Is your dream job realistic? How can you take advantage of your awesomeness?

If you know what you want, you will be able to effectively determine where to get it. For instance, if you have a passion for film and making short films, you will probably aim to network with like-minded people at film events and meet-ups.

Putting yourself out there

Let’s be real. A lot of people know what they want. The thing that stops them isn’t the goal, it’s acting on the goal. To some, the idea of meeting a group of strangers is a hill that appears too steep to climb.

Putting yourself out there can be a challenge but we promise the juice is worth the squeeze. Take these tips and embolden yourself!

  • Do not act contrived. Be yourself.
  • If you feel anxiety at the prospect of a room full of strangers, arrive to an event early and get to know people as they trickle in.
  • Be generous. If you can see a way to be helpful, act on it.
  • Don’t go into an interaction expecting something in return.
  • Instead of thinking about conversations as strictly business, try to make friends. Networking will be much easier if you genuinely like the people you network with.
  • Be positive. People who appear positive garner social benefits.
  • If you are terrible at small talk, try to adopt a mindset of being sincere, authentic and caring. Actively listening and asking questions is half the battle!

The most important thing is you have to do it. You have to put yourself out there. In solitude you can read all the tips in the world. But without action it means nothing. Go get it!

Now we just need to find where all these like-minded and useful networks are hiding…

Online resources for networking

Fortunately, nearly everyone is online. The internet makes networking vastly accessible.

Linkedin is the world’s largest professional network. With an estimated 660 million users, 30 million listed businesses and an expansive job directory – this is a must-have resource if you are seeking to proactively cultivate a career network.

Facebook is a great way to connect with new contacts and is a way to find relevant meetups and groups who share information and act as networks.

Meetup and Eventbrite serve to organise online groups to host in-person events. They can be important resources for locating like-minded individuals and professional contacts.

Networking summary

  • Networking is about relationships
  • You have a network of family and friends
  • You need to know what you want
  • Be brave and put yourself out there
  • Be authentic
  • Do some research online and make a plan

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