Friday, September 2, 2011

Whiny Job Seekers and Shy Networkers--WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND HERE?

Have you ever heard “It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know.” or “It’s all about networking.”?  I recently overheard an acquaintance of mine (well, more like I saw them broadcasting the news across Facebook…Gotta love that!) whining about not being able to find a job.  He was frustrated because he felt that he just didn’t know the right people to get a foot in the door somewhere…anywhere.  He had been applying for jobs online for months, scouring Monster and Careerbuilder and other job sites looking for a job to no avail.
I know I’ve told you all before, but I have never been hired for any position by applying to it online or sending in my resume.  And yet, I seem to always have a job…and they’ve always been pretty darn good jobs!  “How is that possible?” you might be thinking.   The truth is… (drum roll please) I just love to connect with people, and I do my best to make sure they remember me, and I try to stay in touch with my contacts over the years, and I try my best to be a positive person, and…the list goes on and on.
What about those of you who aren’t so eager to meet others?  How can you become a better networker if you’re a little intimidated or shy?  Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1.       Get over yourself!   Yes, I said it.  Lots of us are introverts naturally, but we know that in order to get ahead we have to wear our “extrovert” hat occasionally.  Pretend like you’re not shy…like you’re an actor playing a part.  Don’t be fake, and don’t try to be the life of the party when you’re not.  But ACT like an outgoing person would act.  You’ll be surprised at how far this will get you.  AND it will ease your nerves in the meantime.
2.       Introverts make the best networkers (TRUST ME) because they are excellent listeners.  Cherish your listening skills and listen to others genuinely.  While the “type A” folks are busy jacking their jaws about themselves, you will be getting ahead of the curve by learning invaluable information about those you’re networking with.  Listening is powerful.
3.       Be prepared.  Bring your business cards, a pen, something to write on.  Make sure your teeth are flossed, that your breath isn’t atrocious and that you’re presentable.  Wear clothes that are appropriate for the situation but also COMFORTABLE.  I can’t tell you how annoying it is to be in a professional or networking situation and be in clothes that don’t feel right.  UGH! 
4.       Know why you’re there.  Have a goal, whether it’s to meet 3 new people or to find someone there who works at one of your target companies or to find out more details about the latest development in your industry.  Don’t leave until you’ve met the goal.
5.       Lastly, KEEP IT UPBEAT!  This means SMILE big and often.  In no circumstances should you complain or come across whiny.    NO MATTER HOW DESPERATE YOU ARE, don’t let ‘em see you sweat!  Networking events usually don’t last too long.  Get in, accomplish your goals (your reasons for being there) and get out.
Until next time, I challenge you to meet someone new who has the connections to improve your world this week…be it professionally, personally, spiritually, whatever.  Make it your mission to connect with someone new who may be the missing link to your network.  You’ll be amazed how easy it is, and you’ll be thrilled with the results that come your way once you start networking like a PRO!

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