3 Simple Tips for Better Networking

Just answering a job advertisement is not necessarily the best way to land a job. If you know someone at the company who can recommend you for the position, you probably have a better chance of getting it than if you just sent in your resume and had no contacts on the inside.

Employers often prefer to hire people that come recommended to them to cut down on the lengthy hiring process that can cost them a lot of money. If you want to learn about openings that haven’t been advertised yet or get a reference from someone with an in at the organization you want to work with, here are a few tips.

1. Remember to Offer Something Back.

While you may not be in a position socially or professionally to offer assistance to someone who can help you, be sure to offer. Even if you can’t help that person, at least you made the overture. You may be able to help a different person when you hear about a position for which he or she may be suited. When you do act as a reference for that person, you’re building credit, so to speak, in your networking account. You’ll gain a reputation for someone who gives as well as receives.

2. Actually Follow Up.

If you tell someone you meet that you will follow up about potentially having lunch to network in depth, actually do it. So many times opportunities to build relationships with people you can help or who can help you professionally are missed because people don’t follow up. Set up a lunch date, and then actually stick to that date. Don’t cancel or find an excuse not to be there. Developing contacts means spending time to actually get to know them professionally and personally.

3. Prepare an Elevator Speech.

You need a short blurb — think 30 seconds to a minute long — that describes the kind of job you’re looking for. When you meet someone new, say at a job fair, you need to quickly tell people about what you’re interested in and about your previous experience. This will help them decide if they can help you or not. No one wants to listen to you ramble about your dream job for three minutes. Keep your speech short and to the point.

Respect for people’s time and common courtesy are the keys to networking effectively.