Networking is your secret weapon to landing a great job.
People prefer to hire people they know. So your challenge is to effectively network and meet both the people who can refer you to a job, as well as your future employer through industry and civic associations.
Most organizations have weekly or monthly luncheons, and a couple of evening networking socials throughout the year, in addition to workshops and seminars. Some groups feature breakfast meetings, others evening dinners or cocktail events. Join organizations that fit into your lifestyle so it will be easy and convenient to attend the events. Attend whenever possible, and actively network with the others in the room. Show up and participate!
3 Killer Techniques for Networking
To take it a step further, I have 3 awesome techniques that will make your networking much more effective. These techniques have formulated and tweaked through trial and error, and tested in field.
Here are 3 killer techniques that will improve your networking game:
1) Master the Art of Shaking Hands
You have to master the all-important handshake. No wimpy finger shakes, ladies, and no crushing of fingers, guys. When you say your name, stick out your right hand, insert your hand securely into the other person’s hand thumb-to thumb and palm-to-palm. Firmly grasp the offered hand, look the person you are greeting in the eye, smile, shake hands 3 times, then release.
To be really sincere or intimate, use the two-hand shake. Look the person in the eye, and grasp the offered hand firmly with your right hand, and then clasp the back side of the person’s hand with your left hand, and shake. Release your left hand first, then release your right hand. I would recommend using this sparingly, as you don’t want to be known as a groper, but in can be good for a very special person or relationship.
2) Wear Your Nametag on Your RIGHT Shoulder
Nametags are essential for networking. Most organizations will have pre-printed computer-generated stick-on nametags for networking events. Sometimes you will receive a blank adhesive nametag and a Sharpie pen to
write your own name tag. Practice writing an attractive nametag, with your first name large and very visible, and your last name underneath a bit smaller. If you want to add your company name, it should be centered at the bottom in a smaller size printing.
Even better, you can invest $10 or $15 to create your own permanent nametag. If you currently don’t have a job, list your profession instead of company — what you aspire to do. For example: Marketing, Accounting, Human Resources, Writer-Editor, IT, Database Management, Auto Repairs, etc. Don’t put your school name if you are still in school. And never put intern, job seeker, or unemployed on anything!
You wear your nametag on your RIGHT shoulder, just below your collarbone, about where you would put your hand to say the pledge of allegiance on the other shoulder. You want your name tag to be seen when you introduce yourself to someone. When you stick out your right hand to shake hands, your right shoulder will roll forward, and your name tag will be clearly visible. When you shake hands, your left shoulder rolls backwards and the person you are meeting can’t see your nametag well if it is on the left shoulder.
3) Manage Giving and Receiving Business Cards
Presenting, accepting, and managing business cards is an art. I keep my business cards in the left pocket of my jacket, always within easy reach. You don’t want to be fumbling in your purse or wallet for a card — that’s awkward and distracting. When I meet someone I want to give a business card to, I dip my left hand into my left pocket and pull out a card while I am reaching out with my right hand to shake hands. Then I present my card so that it is facing the recipient and not upside down. At that point, the recipient feels obligated to return the gracious gesture, and he gives me one of his cards.
Take the offered card in both hands, read it, say the name, and thank the giver for the card. Then slip it into your RIGHT side pocket. In this way, you aren’t fumbling through many cards to find one of yours, and you aren’t giving away a card with a hand-written note on the back. Practice this before your next networking event so it comes to you naturally. Remember, your cards in your left pocket, and their cards in your right pocket.
Business card etiquette is very different in different countries and cultures, so study up on the cultural nuances before traveling overseas.