Whether or not you are currently engaged in a job search, networking is a fundamental activity that should be embraced for numerous reasons. With time at a premium for most working adults, adding more to an already full schedule may feel like another obligation. It’s true that unless there is a clear intention and purpose, attending an event with a general notion of making contacts is unrealistic. It requires a plan.
We recommend the 3-3-3 approach as a minimum goal for any event: • Choose a minimum of 3 people to connect with more than superficially. Listen. How might you help them? • Collect 3-business cards from people you spent time talking to • Call within 3-business days and follow up with another time to meet.
Networking doesn’t always mean carving out hours to connect and make introductions. Technology has created unlimited opportunity to reach out on LinkedIn, Facebook, Classmates, alumni and special interest groups along with many other sites. You can renew relationships with former colleagues, research new interests or connect with people who are doing interesting things.
Joining organizations that are not related to your area of expertise brings you into contact with new people, who don’t know you as (fill in the blank). This is especially helpful in a transition period where you may be looking at a career change. Attend an industry function as a guest to see if that demographic is a good fit. An added bonus is learning more about aeronautics, public relations, marketing or perhaps community theater.
Be curious! You never know how you may be a resource for someone else and likewise, how you can develop broader connections and learn something new in the process.