So, you’ve heard that you should be networking right? Networking is crucial to a successful career and cracking the hidden job market but you’d rather try sober up David Hasslehoff than be forced to network.
Well have I got the solution for you!
Before you dismiss this post with an excuse, let me tell you that I have heard nearly every excuse in the book in order to avoid networking:
- I’m only a student and have nothing to offer to the conversation
- I’m an inexperienced practitioner with no stories to tell
- I hate meeting new people and would rather paint the toes of my mother-in-law than go to a networking event
What you may not realize is that your student status, your inexperience and your fear are levers that will enable you to become a master networker. People love nothing more than to share their story and if you can sneak in the fact that you are new to the profession or a student it will make them even more excited as they get a chance to shape tomorrow’s leaders.
Pareto Principle for Networking
Now, I’m going out on a limb here and assuming that you have heard of the Pareto Principle. You may have heard of it referred to the 80/20 rule as well. So, what does the Pareto Principle have to do with this post? Once again, it comes to the rescue as the magical mathematical solution and this time it’s for networking.
I practiced this technique for two years while I was still studying as I attended every event that didn’t clash with a class. I learned a hell of a lot from people who’d already been there, done that and bought the postcard. People appreciated my listening skills and they introduced me to their networks which in turn has widened my circle substantially. It also branded me as the passionate and engaged HR student in the community and opened up several doors for me. All of this was generated from being courteous enough to listen to somebody else.
Strike with a Confident Hand
Over time you will build up your own library of stories and you can start to part your wisdom but, until, then I urge you to attend, strike with a confident shake of the hand and listen like you’ve never listened before.
Damon is our Women of HR Featured Contributor this week. Click over to meet him and see what he has to say about himself, his career, and his views on the workplace and the women in it.