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NETWORKING TIPS: In Person & Online

Written by Heather Sadlier, Employment Specialist with Next-Steps Employment Centre – Riverdale

Whether its at a Networking Event or on LinkedIn, these tips can help you get started.

Networking In Person

Going to a networking event? If you are nervous or are new to networking, go with a friend, classmate, or colleague. This helps to ease the nerves.

But before you venture off, it is a good idea to do research before you go.

Questions to consider:

  • Who will be attending the event: employers, guest speakers, or both? Find out about them. What do they do? What is their product?
  • How might your skills and experience fit with the company or industry that you are targeting?

Once you are at the event, ask to be introduced. Make a connection, ask questions and share your knowledge and interest in the field. Ask for business cards and follow-up soon after the event. Thank them for taking the time to speak with you. Following up is a powerful tool in networking: it helps you keep track of the connections you have made.

Prepare a targeted resume for the companies that you are most interested in. If it is a non-employer or job fair event prepare your “30 Second Elevator Speech”.

If you are nervous or hate networking, arrive early to avoid the crowds and make a commitment to yourself to stay for a certain period of time, or talk to a certain number of people. You are giving yourself an opportunity to make important connections that might help your job search.

Practice, practice, practice! As with everything, you will get better with practice. The more events you attend, the more comfortable you will be with introducing yourself and connecting with others.

Networking Online

LinkedIn

  • Start a LinkedIn profile; it’s easy to get started, you only need an e-mail address.
  • Set your privacy setting to private as you build your profile and start making connection with people you know. Start with co-workers, former co-workers, classmates, and mentors.
  • Be sure to include your past work experience and education and let the platform work for you to find recommended connections.
  • The more you use LinkedIn the more it will work for you. Look for quality contacts, people who can provide you information in your field and provide you with additional contacts.
  • Like, comment and post articles on your feed; this will ensure that your profile is seen by more people.
  • When sending a connection request, it is better and more effective to send a personalized message. Give the person a reason to want to connect with you.

Facebook

  • Group your friends into work and personal friends.
  • Share and like articles related to your field with your work friends group with a custom post.
  • As you make new work friends on Facebook start connecting with them on LinkedIn.
  • Remember to consider your digital footprint and maintain a respectable personal image/brand.  Employers can access and find Facebook posts or images, regardless of privacy settings.  Read our post on Personal Image Branding on how to do this and what to avoid.

 

For more information, job search assistance, workshops, resources, hiring events, and much more, visit www.next-steps.ca

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