Networking plays a significant role in your job search process. Luckily, you can find people to add to your network almost anywhere. Think creatively about where to make contacts—they could be family, friends, neighbors, classmates, volunteers, co-workers, sports fans, workout partners, organization members, or anyone else.
Here are 12 other things you can do to prepare for a successful networking experience.
1. Be Prepared
Don't go anywhere without copies of your résumé and business/networking card. You never know when you'll meet someone who can help you out.
2. Join Professional Organizations
Professional organizations are one of the top venues for networking. Find ones related to your field, sign up, and attend their conferences and events to connect with individuals in your industry.
Volunteer work is a great way to make network contacts—and a solid first impression.
4. Find A Mentor
Not only can a mentor provide support and guidance, but they can also point you to any contacts they already have.
5. Ask For Help
Don't be afraid to reach out to your existing contacts. Most people are flattered to be asked for advice because it makes them feel important.
6. Project A Positive Image
Look successful and smile—you'll get noticed during networking events.
7. Make A Good First Impression
Start with a firm handshake coupled with good eye contact. Make sure your hands are clean.
8. Get To Know Your Contacts
Use your personality to develop a rapport with others. Find common interests and build a relationship with your contacts—it will strengthen your connection with them.
Have a tip, tool, reference, book, website, or referral ready to help your contacts. They will appreciate your helpfulness and be more willing to return the favor.
10. Create And Use Your Elevator Pitch
Be prepared with a memorable, 30-second statement about yourself and your goals.
11. Write Thank You Notes
A little gesture can go a long way. Thank everyone who has been helpful to you, preferably with a hand-written note. Your contacts will remember you.
12. Keep Networking!
Even after you've found a job, stay in touch with your current contacts and keep growing your network. You never know when you might need their help again!