Networking has become an integral part of establishing one’s career. It’s a great tactic as it helps you broaden not only your professional contacts, but your opportunities to progress in your chosen career path as well.
Building your own professional network can be overwhelming, especially for fresh graduates who are just starting out in their careers. It involves a lot of preparation to develop the skills and traits needed to be able to connect with other professionals confidently.
Are you one of those aspiring professionals who wishes to expand your list of connections, but still want to sharpen your networking skills? We’re here to help you out!
Here are some helpful tips for stress-free networking and interviewing:
Do your research
As cliche as it may sound, research is definitely one of the most helpful ways that can help you improve your networking skills. Learning about the people you’re connecting with in advance gives you the advantage of assessing their personalities and character, so you can make the proper adjustments before engaging in conversation. It also applies to companies when going to an interview—it’s always better to have ready information about the organization as well as the job position that you’re applying for. It leaves you with a good impression, and you can use that as an opportunity to include them in your network.
Set your goals
Setting a clear goal is also a must. Setting up short-term and long-term goals gives you clarity on how you can strategize your approach as you expand your network. It’s advisable to have your goals as realistic as possible, so you can be sure to achieve them step-by-step. Have you determined your niche yet? Do you have a list of people you would like to connect to? Are there relevant events around your area that could help you expand your network?
Utilize digital tools
Recent times have shown that going digital is the next big step for businesses in various industries, so it’s important to catch up! Websites like LinkedIn have been a popular choice for professionals and industry leaders alike in providing career opportunities online, and have stretched into a portal for digital networking as well. There are also a lot of online job search platforms where you can connect with professionals and business owners, so take advantage of them!
Practice your communication skills
Communication is one of the most vital aspects of networking. First off, it helps you create a good impression with the people you’re trying to establish a connection with. Be mindful of your body language to make sure that you’re giving the right signals to the people you’re talking to. You can even rehearse an elevator pitch so you’ll have an icebreaker when starting a conversation. Also, it’s important to take note that communication is not a one-way street; you need to learn to read the room and really listen to the people you’re conversing with to have an organic and meaningful connection.
Learn to be patient
Building a strong network takes a lot of time, so you have to be patient! Rejections are part of the process, so you also have to learn to handle these kinds of situations properly. Remember that most of the interactions you will encounter are for professional purposes, so avoid taking things too personally. You can take action by casually keeping in touch with your new connections or by making subtle but genuine follow-ups like catching up with them.
A good example of an effective networking platform is a job fair, as it has everything you’re looking for: lots of professionals and industry leaders in different fields whom you can connect with, as well as plenty of career opportunities just waiting for you.
The Toronto School of Management (TSoM) and Niagara College – Toronto (NCT) have collaborated to provide you with the TSoM – NCT Hybrid Job Fair, an event aiming to connect TSoM and NCT students and alums with the country’s leading companies and organizations and help them land their dream jobs here in Canada. The much-anticipated career fair will take place on September 20 (in-person) and 21 (virtual) from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST. To learn more about the event and to register, send an email to [email protected].