Networking the right way


Forget about just relying on traditional ways for job hunting. Finding a job in today’s challenging job market takes more than just sitting around and waiting for the Sunday papers and sifting through the classified section. Aside from searching job sites (which means signing-up for a jobsDB account if you haven’t yet!), you should also expand your search by harnessing the power of networking. 

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Networking requires you to go out of your way to meet up and connect with the right players in your chosen industry. Succeed here and you may find yourself hearing about opportunities that are otherwise unannounced or hidden from the public. Are you currently employed and happy with your job? You can still reap benefits from networking. Use it as your chance to get to know potential mentors who can help you become better at your job. 

Now this may all sound very daunting, but don’t despair—here we’ll list down the ways to go about it that’ll reap you great rewards at the end. 


 1. Start with thosenearest and dearest to you. 

Think back to that famous jingle of a top chocolate milk brand from your childhood (“Great things start from small beginnings!”). Since you’re just starting out on this new initiative, it’s fine to take things slow. Use your existing network of family and friends to begin your venture. Let’s say you’re interested in applying for a post in the Science field—that aunt of yours that teaches Biology in college is a good person to talk to. She can introduce you to the right folks in the industry who can help you get much closer to your dream job. There’s no need to be shy here—they are your loved ones after all and they are surely more than willing to extend a helping hand to you.  


2. The Internet is your friend.

Thank goodness we live at a time where we have the World Wide Web right at our fingertips. With a few simple clicks of a button or a simple swipe on the screen, we are able to order food, watch movies, and apply to jobs online. For most of us though the Internet has become our primary means to connect with each other. Thanks to social media, we are able to connect with like-minded folks even from far-off places making it one of the best tools for networking. With that in mind, look to your social media accounts or join sites like Meetup and get in touch with people to widen your network. Be open to the possibilities that this technology affords you, so go ahead, tweet, like and share your way to a great career. 


3. Be selective.

By now you’re probably overwhelmed by all the networking opportunities on your plate—you’re next step then is to choose the ones that you can benefit from the most. At this point of the game, the mantra is “quality over quantity”. You can try attending all the events you get invited to but you run the risk of having to deal with too many unnecessary numbers and faces to remember. Be picky and prioritize relevance over anything else. There’s no point in attending a real estate seminar if you’re keen on becoming a nurse, for example. 


4. …But don’t close yourself up to opportunities either.

We don’t mean to contradict ourselves but do hear us out: what we mean here is to be on alert for networking opportunities at all times. Know that not all types of networking happen at organized events—there are a few that occur spontaneously in our daily lives. You may find yourself meeting somebody who can give you a great job opportunity while you’re hanging out in a café one day, so be on alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. You never know what awaits you right around the corner. 


5. Prepare for the day.

Think of networking events as job interviews—you’ll be talking to the decision makers who can possibly make or break your career. It is therefore important that you prepare for the said event like you would for a job interview. After accepting an invitation to a networking function (or deciding to attend one), your next step should be to learn everything you can about the event. To help you prepare, know what it’s for and find out which companies or individuals are participating. Arm yourself with enough knowledge so you’ll be able to successfully navigate your way. Practice if you can and have some speech ready for the day. Your speech should be able to narrate who you are, what you do and why you are there.  Again, be proactive—now’s not the right time to be shy! Reach out and make the first move if possible. It’s best if you have business cards with you that you can hand out to people on the day of the event. Lastly, mind your manners, remember to listen, ask questions and don’t forget to smile!    


6. Persistence and optimism go a long way.

As with every aspect of the job hunting process, things may or may not turn out the way you expect them to be. You may have done everything right but things may still not go in your favor. There’s a lot of waiting involved here so it pays to be patient but don’t just let things pass you by either! Make calls, follow up and keep in touch with the contacts you’ve made if possible—but do go about it in a way that won’t annoy them. Remember to keep things professional. Undercover Recruiter calls it “polite persistence”—that ability to continue to move forward without losing hope or perspective. Learn to shake off disappointments by keeping yourself optimistic throughout the process.