The weather is warming up, and it’s time to heat up networking in your job hunt. Although some job hunters want to slow down their employment search efforts in the summer and take it easy, I don’t recommend it. Why? Summer, with all its events and activities, is a great time to meet and be with people. And people hire people. If you can sidestep some of the faceless technology (such as endless online applications) in today’s job hunt, you may find yourself getting a job more quickly and easily.
|Heat up your job search networking this summer.|
As introverts and shy individuals, we often find it difficult to approach people we don’t know, especially in the job search. But summer makes it easier, because gatherings are more frequent, often bigger, more informal, and often outdoors. Although you may avoid direct networking because it is intimidating, the summer often makes it more relaxed and approachable.
Take this example: At a baseball game or a wedding, the person sitting next to you casually starts a conversation about your town. She mentions that her company is expanding. You mention that you are looking for a new job. Perhaps you see a potential match and can ask your new acquaintance a little more about the potential opportunity. Before you know it, you may have a contact name and a new job lead. So easy!
To make your summer networking for a new job most effective, keep a few tips in mind:
- Relax. Unlike traditional networking settings (conferences, for example), summer events are meant to be nothing but fun. Stay open to networking, but don’t make it the only thing on your agenda at an event.
- Keep business cards handy. Bring along business cards that you create just for job searching. The cards should list your name, contact information, and key skills. You don’t need to hand them out to everyone, just to people who seem interested in helping you with your job hunt or with whom you’d like to establish a professional relationship.
- Take notes. Carry a pen to jot down the names and contact information of people you meet and with whom you want to follow up. Or be ready to record the information in your phone.
- Look in the mirror. Summer is a time for super-casual clothes. Just don’t look sloppy, however, because first impressions count, no matter where you are.
- Be friendly and don’t push. Don’t try to turn every introduction into a networking episode. You may meet many people at an event, but most will not lead to job possibilities, become networking contacts, or even become friends. Smile, shake hands, trust your gut, and see where things go.
- Be open to helping others. Remember that networking is a two-way street. If you meet someone you can help professionally, be open to it.
- Give it time. Most first meetings will not immediately lead to a job. Give a relationship time to build, perhaps by asking a person to meet you for coffee at another time to discuss your careers.
- Follow up. If you do meet a person who offers to give you a job lead or introduce you to a hiring manager, be sure to follow up and thank the person.