When it comes to networking, it’s hard to deny the importance of Linkedin and the other social networking sites, but according to Stacy Parker, Executive Vice-President of Marketing at Randstad Canada, the country’s leader for staffing, recruitment and HR Services, good old-fashioned face-to-face networking is also an important component that needs to be developed in today’s competitive job market.
According to Parker, it’s important to think about networking every day, not just when you are looking for a job. “Networking occurs all day, every day, both at work and in your private life. It’s about connecting with people and building relationships. You are networking when you meet parents at the hockey rink, when you volunteer in your community or even when you join a new group or committee,” she explains.
It is often said that in order to increase your network you should attend industry events – but just showing up at these events is not enough – it’s important to be proactive when networking.
Parker shares 5 useful ways to fine-tune your networking skills:
- Plan ahead and be prepared before you go to a networking event.
- Know what you are going to say when people ask about you and your business. Put together a short description of who you are and what you do. Create enough interest to prompt people to ask more questions.
- Talk to people you don’t know. It is easy to spend your time talking to people you are familiar with but you must show interest in those you don’t know. Find out what they do, what needs they have, and how you might be able to help them.
- Remember that networking is about building relationships, not selling. Truly listen to what others are saying and look for opportunities to help them and to enhance the relationship. You want to be prepared to talk about yourself if asked, but your focus should be on others.
- Follow up with the people you met to further develop these relationships.
Parker admits that in today’s technological world, it’s still important to take advantage of the various social media sites that are available to bridge these important connections. “Once you have invested time and effort into face-to-face meetings, you can rely on online networking to stay in touch and strengthen your relationships. That’s where the two methods fit well together,” she says.
Visit the Randstad Canada’s Career Tools page to watch our video on networking or visit Randstad Canada’s YouTube page for more tips and techniques that will help you maximize your job search process and career growth opportunities.