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Networking Ė The Lifelong skill

Ashling McWilliam for local2 sault ste. marie
August 3rd, 2011 at 12:44pm



This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

SHAKING HANDS

From your first conversation in the morning to your last conversation at night, you are networking.

Participate on a board/community group = NETWORKING

Play on a sports team/member of an arts club = NETWORKING

Lunch with someone a few times a year to stay in touch = NETWORKING

Recommend a restaurant to a friend = NETWORKING

Networking is building relationships before you need them. Then, when you need them, you know who to call and they will want to help you.

I know from experience that when you are job hunting, you want to go straight to someone who can interview you. Unfortunately this isnít always the case. There are risks that although you will spend time with interesting people, they may not be the people who can help you with your present problem. However, they might know someone who can!

We have people in our life for different reasons. Some help us make money, some help us spend it, some people we share an interest with, some make us laugh. There are some people who we donít like, and they may not be too fond of us, but time is limited, so how do we decide who to make time for?

Almost everyone is a potential job networking contact.

First, establish who your contacts are;

* Your family and extended family
* Your university/college alumni association
* Your friends and family of your friends
* Former colleagues
* Members of groups, organizations, clubs, teams and church that you belong to
* Parents at the school/groups/teams/organizations that your children belong to
* Trade associations
* Social networking sites



Now What?

Contact the people you already know and tell them about your job search. Keep telling them. Provide them with clear details about what youíre looking for and ask them if they know anyone that you might talk to. You may be surprised by who they know. Make yourself pick up the phone and call any leads provided. The more phone calls you make the easier it will become. E-mail is a perfectly acceptable way to network. Keep your message brief and to the point and be sure to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation.

As you expand your roster of contacts, continue to nurture your network.

o Make contact and have a conversation or informational interview
o Follow up after your meeting
o Take any actions steps/advice after meeting
o Find ways to provide value to your contact
o Keep in touch and follow up with contacts regularly



**Try going to social events. If youíre shy, VOLUNTEER! Volunteer to work at the registration table. It will take the edge off and open up more conversations. In a small town like Sault Ste. Marie, the best thing to do is volunteer. Itís an easy way to make contacts. That manager or executive director does notice you and appreciates your help, donít be afraid to ask them for a reference!

Networking tips

* Remember names and get them right. Create a system that works for you. If you are a visual learner, mentally write the name down. If you are an auditory learner, say it out loud. Find something it rhymes with, use the name in the first few sentences, not too often though or you can quickly become irritating



* Talk to people who are by themselves. They will remember you later on



* Introduce someone else



* Jot notes down on the back of business cards



* Smile, use a firm handshake



**If you are interested in discovering more about network marketing call the Sault Community Career Centre at (705) 759-0909 and sign up for a networking presentation August 8th from 10 am until noon.

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