Because you can’t go alone. You need people who are supporting you and helping you and at some points of your life, you will help others to grow as. Well, except for you are a super talented and genius who automatically gets offer from your company just through your online presence, then Congrats!! But if you’re just an normal one like me, build your network, from day zero (not even wait till day 1).
Why did not I networking before?
- I come from a culture, where people relate “relationship” to “make benefit from others” rather than “creating new opportunities and growth for everyone“. Then, networking is a pretty new concept and only started to flourish in recent years.
- As a result, I felt uncomfortable, and awkward to pop-in at an event, meet strangers, hi, hello, bla-bla. I didn’t want people think that I’d need something from them.
- And, I didn’t know, what I should talk to them, to actually “networking”.
Why am I networking now?
Because I accidentally met some people who really made me think: “WOW, what would happen if I never met them? The information they gave is extremely helpful. Even some information is visible, I missed it somehow.”
And because I am looking for a job, and 80% of the jobs actually come from connections and referral programs. And, I can not control all the information on job boards and LinkedIn. So I need help.
You meet a friend. A friend will have a friend. That friend will have another friend. And the chain gets longer, and it takes you to somewhere you would never know.
How am I networking?
- Go to events, gatherings or groups of your interest. That’s where you find people. And people of your interest. I met a lady in a a cultural night hold by the student association. I actively approached her. Turned out she has been working in Human Resources for more than 8 years, and she has guided me with lots of ideas so far. Not only formal and official events, party counts, after the hangover, you may start a serious conversation 😉
- LinkedIn. That’s the place for networking. Connect and follow people of your interests. Produce contents on those to keep people want to connect with you as well.
- Be nice and be helpful. Yes, this is how it is different from making benefit from others. This is a win-win situation. I try to connect people in my connections. When someone is trying to find a career switching, I recommend her to an old friend I know who work in exactly the same field, and they connect! And, she will surely do the same, if she might know someone from my interested area. Be nice, at least I would not recommend someone with bad behavior to my former employer :p
- Approach actively and openly. A few first times sucks, but you will get on track. You will find how to approach people naturally as I did. I do not limit the conversation to boring and serious topics like theory on social media strategies or stock markets. Just some few simple sentences, like, hi, I really like your presentation, how did you get the idea? and move on. Or hi, my name is… nice to meet you, then base on the theme of the event, I open the questions and they response and keep it on. Or where are you studying, where are you working, do you happen to know… BELIEVE ME, I USED TO GOOGLE HOW TO NETWORKING but now I will just go with the flow.
So far, I have good experiences after actively networking:
- All people I’ve met are all nice, they did not eat me. They responded to me in a way which is different from my paranoid imagination. Even though they are job-seekers, employers, hosts of an events or just a random person.
- I make new friends and learn from them a lot.
- There are times I am really upset, but people I’ve met keep me up and their stories support me a lot.
- I have friends sending me opening vacancies everyday whenever they see one that fits me.
- Friends thanked me for connecting them together and they are doing something together. How cool is that?
Sorry for the long post, but I am sooo excited to write it down. Thank you everyone in my network for networking with me together with the opportunities you’ve given me. And especially, I call out to you, students! Networking while you’re still studying, what I did not actively do during my studying, because university is an awesome networking environment as well. Build your network from today!!!