By Bobby Sisk
Sunday, April 29, 2012
It seems like an overused term: networking. But often who you know or who you come in contact with can help you land your next job.
Nathan Adams is a certified resume writer and owner of First Impressions Resume Center in Charlotte. He’s expanded his expertise to become a certified professional career coach as well and offers some great advice for reluctant networkers.
- First, take small bites, said Adams. “If the thought of walking into a room full of people is overwhelming, try to network in a more comfortable atmosphere,” he said. Talk to friends, family and members of the communities in which you already interact. Ask if they have any contacts that might help you in your search.
- Next, learn from more experienced networkers. Find a partner who is more outgoing than you, Adams advised. “Invite him to a networking event and follow his lead, but don’t cling to him all evening. When you’re ready, branch out on your own and make plans to check in periodically throughout the event,” said Adams. Afterward, share contacts.
- Practice your pitch and then practice it again. “You can improve your comfort level with networking dramatically by practicing ahead of time,” added Adams. “Think through a brief statement about yourself that communicates your unique skills and value added.” Be bold, he went on to say, and discuss how you solve your clients’ problems.
- Education is important in any job search. Adams is a proponent of reading books and articles on networking (you’re off to a good start reading this). “Highlight concepts, themes, and scripts that can help you prepare and be comfortable with your networking skills,” he said.
- And finally, adding to that education component, consider taking a public-speaking class. This may be as simple as joining a group that allows you to practice public speaking, in what Adams described as a non-threatening environment.
“Groups such as Toastmasters International offer a variety of meetings and venues to practice these skills,” said Adams. You can find clubs at www.toastmasters.org.
For more advice from Adams, check out his website at www.firstimpressionscount.com.