Five tips to networking your way to a new job
Last year I moved to Bristol and threw myself into networking as I didn’t know anyone. I’ve found that networking is a great way to meet new people, help you land your next fantastic role or build your business. I’ve met such an amazing group of people over the last nine months. And I’d never had done so if I hadn’t launched myself into networking.
I certainly didn’t always get it right at the beginning. But I’ve found that everyone is so helpful that it doesn’t matter at all if you mess up your elevator pitch. Neither is it a problem if you forget your business cards – because everyone remembers their first time networking so will support you. The main thing I’ve found is that it’s best to simply get out there and give it a go!
Here are some tips that you may find helpful if you’ve wanted to land yourself a new job through networking but don’t know where to begin.
1. Practice your elevator pitch
Before May last year I had never written a sixty-second pitch. However, after six months in Entrepreneurial Spark (the world’s largest business accelerator programme) I now understand how powerful sixty seconds can be. I now say mine about four times a week at different events. I tweak the message depending on the audience and tailor my ‘ask’ to suit what I currently need. The more specific you can be the better as it does help the audience to help you.
So, if you know the company that you want to work for then ask for an introduction to it in your ask. You never know who’s in the audience or who someone in the room knows outside the room.
2. Get there early
Luckily, I am an early riser. So if an event has a 7.30am start you won’t be surprised to know I’m there for 7 a.m. By getting there early I can chat to people as they arrive. And that’s far less daunting than walking into a room of thirty people and trying to join established conversations. Frankly that’s quite terrifying for even the most confident person!
Early arrival gives me the added benefit of an extra thirty minutes of networking. It even creates opportunities for introducing people to each other as they arrive – something they are often grateful for if they’re new to networking.
3. First impressions count
You only have a few seconds to make that first impression so get it right!
- Make eye contact
- Smile – people will then approach you!
- Dress smartly
- Have an open and confident body language pose
- Give a firm handshake
- Welcome people into your conversation
4. Be prepared
You may read the following and think “those are obvious” but you’ll be surprised at how many don’t get it right.
- Know where you are going and what time the event starts
- Check train times, congestion charges and where you can park
- Have a strategy of what you would like to get out of networking. I.e. grow your network and find a new job.
- Take plenty of business cards and copies of your CV
5. Follow up
Connect on LinkedIn with people that you met as soon as possible. Mention the event at which you met them so they remember you. Suggest meeting for a coffee.
6. Plan a long term relationship
It’s not likely that you’ll land your dream job after your first networking event. You’ll need to show commitment and energy to grow some fantastic long-term relationships. Ask them how you can help them – you never know you may just be able to introduce them to the person they want to meet.
I’m still at the beginning of my networking journey. I’d love to hear from you about your stories and what you find helpful with networking.
I just gave you 6 tips on how to network your way to a new job, it would be good to hear which one stood out to you the most and why. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Good luck with your networking and most of all enjoy it.
F: Caroline Arnold Coaching