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Develop a networking mindset – SFGate

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Meeting your next employer can happen in a variety of ways, but it’s likely you’ll met them through an unexpected networking encounter.

Anytime you are considering changing careers or during an active job search, it helps to develop a networking mindset, where observing contacts becomes second nature. Changing the way, you connect with people is the key to talking with a hiring decision maker and moving you closer to new opportunities.

There are literally thousands of networking stories that have changed people’s career direction, and most will tell you some of their encounters were planned while others were a complete surprise. However, the one thing they all share is their ability to seize the moment and make the connection work for them.

You can too, by developing a networking mindset throughout your work life. Look at the marketplace as one giant networking circle, that turns when you tap into different segments. Networking is the energy that gets you connected with information.

However, before you develop a networking mindset, you need to first identify the myths that can block you from going forward.

Networking myths

• You worked hard throughout your career and because of your loyalty, your career will be taken care of by your employer.
• All your colleagues that you worked with are gone and are no longer useful because you don’t work for the same company.
• Networking is for extroverts who are comfortable meeting people.
• You tried networking in the past, but it doesn’t work the same way today.
• You have reached out to everyone you know and informed them of your career change, no one has time to help.
• It’s been years since you talked with your alumni, friends or acquaintances.
• Only a select few can help me with my job search.

Now that you aware of some of the blocks that keep people from networking, it’s time to consider if the same ones are influencing you.

Working hard in the past has changed the way loyalty is viewed. While commitment is an admirable quality, unfortunately it doesn’t protect your career. Keep working hard while paying attention to your needs, think of networking as protecting your career.

Your colleagues might have moved on, some relocating out of town, while others are retiring or working for a different employer. Nonetheless, don’t stop networking with them. As they move on, they meet more people to introduce you too.

Networking is for every personality type, extroverts might be more comfortable talking with people, yet introverts can be just as strong. If you are shy, write down what you want to say and practice your script till it feels comfortable.

Connecting with people has always been the way to find new opportunities. In the past or present, networking still works the same way even though “how” you network is different. Social media has opened the doors to unlimited possibilities of meeting people.

It’s a common issue among job seekers thinking they have reached out to everyone they know. A good exercise is to start writing down names, list everyone you know. Your list will probably be larger than you think. Some people will respond quickly while others may not at all, unfortunately that’s part of a networking.

Reaching out to people regardless of how much time has passed is a great way to rekindle relationships. The time excuse is not helpful and is untrue. If you are reaching out to people you know, most likely they are glad to hear from you.

One of the biggest blunders you can make with networking, is judging who might be helpful. You limit your ability to meet new contacts when you rely on prediction to determine who you reach out too.

A networking mindset keeps you alert to the possibilities and helps you stay open to making connections everywhere.

How has networking helped you throughout your career?


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