Network like a Pro

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Networking is daunting, for sure, especially the first time you go solo. Whether you’ve been roped in to attend an event on behalf of work, been coerced by a friend, want to meet new people or need to build your connections, it does get easier the more practise you have. You don’t have to attend a ‘networking event’ as such, to network, establish connections and land yourself a dream job. From merely chatting to the girl sat next to you at the nail bar, on a night out or within a work situation, there are so many benefits of networking.

It has certainly helped push me out of my comfort zone, helped improve my small talk, presentation skills and increased my confidence. Big glasses of wine also make networking events much more bearable!

Here’s how to master the art of small talk, business card swapping and networking like a pro…

Business cards & LinkedIn

Bring your business cards with you and have LinkedIn at the ready. When swapping business cards with connections you’ve made, remember that quality is better than quantity. Take the extra effort to touch base after the event with a quite note to show your enthusiasm and gratitude. By remembering to connect and message your newly made contact in a friendly and professional manner could lead to you landing your dream job!

Maximise your time

Aim to arrive at the event early, allowing time to quickly freshen up and regain composure. Stay till the end too, if you can. This is a great way to mingle with guests while it’s not too busy and to introduce yourself and chat to the hosts and staff. Don’t stick with the first person you meet, and don’t feel bad about moving to another person or group. It’s important to meet as many people as possible, so make sure you work the room, after politely excusing yourself. If you know in advance who is attending, you can research and prioritise speaking to them.

Start the conversation

Most people don’t enjoy networking events. Many individuals will be nervous, just like you. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there by saying hello to everyone, initiating conversations and being bold enough to join in with groups of people. If you are shy, speak to the organisers who can introduce you to people who are similar to you, or position yourself near the bar/food so that people can come to you.

Confidence

Be confident in yourself. Smile, have a good firm handshake and be comfortable talking about yourself, your job, inspirations and aspirations. Also, be inquisitive about the people you meet, open minded and listen to their stories. Everyone you meet should serve to educate, motivate, challenge and surprise you. You can learn something from everyday encounters with people. Today, whilst volunteering, I heard an incredible story by a lovely lady who was recently held at knife point in her own home, by an intruder and how she coped. It’s so easy these days to stare at your phone and pretend there’s something more interesting, in situations such as networking. However, by putting your phone away, opening up yourself to the people around you and taking the time to listen, appreciate and be emphatic – wonderful energy can be created.

I have attended countless blogging events, networking events and have attended events or occasions solo. I often find it’s better going solo as sometimes, bringing a friend can limit you. Take the leap and challenge yourself to attend some events solo. Attending blogging events have made me meet incredible friends, travelling solo has seriously improved my confidence and attending a networking event landed me an interview!

I hope you enjoyed reading,

Love Career Girl

xo

Staying Motivated & Positive Throughout the Job Search

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Don’t you just hate it when your parents & friends constantly enquire about the status of your job hunt?! “Have you had any interviews, how’s the job hunt going, got the job of your dreams yet?”

I’ve been there and it’s frustrating as hell. Gone are the days when you could just walk into a job and be set for life. Today, you’re battling with millions of other just as good, if not better graduates, combined with (pointless) online applications & selection criteria; in addition to horribly stressful interviews.

Psychometric tests & situational tests… for what?

I remember in my quest last year to get a job, I applied to work at a well know supermarket chain (so glad I didn’t progress!) Cue personality tests & situation tests, passing this a phone then a group interview. All to work for a little bit above minimum wage, essentially stacking shelves. Crazy in my opinion. There is no way you can gauge whether someone is fit for the role, intelligent or even passionate for the job if this is what you have to endure to get to the final face-to-face interview. I also read somewhere that CV’s are gone through a screening process (applicant tracking system) & often discarded way before a human has even seen them! Certain tag lines within your CV are scanned to filter them out. So take it with a pinch of salt if you apply online & never hear back.

Months and months of searching, applying & being constantly rejected can seriously take its toll. I have shed many a tear of frustration. I found it incredibly depressing, stressful and hard to stay upbeat & motivated!

So this is what I did…

Get a job, even if it isn’t your dream job.

Hey, it’s all experience and you never know, network and you could achieve the job of your dreams. It is much easier and less stressful to look for a job if you already have a job. Having an income is great and it gives you a hell of a lot more to talk about in your interview.

Network like there is no tomorrow

You never know who might be hiring so it’s always worth striking up a conversion, even with a stranger. Many companies and hiring managers do advertise; but a staggering 95% of jobs* are never advertised!!!

Dream Job Lists

Write down a list of company’s you want to work for or roles that you see yourself doing. Write some job goals, things you want to get out of that job, whether it is to save money or career progression. I desire a job where I’m always learning & constantly being challenged. Focusing on what you want will help drive you in the right direction. Trust your instinct and do a job that feels right for YOU!

Also, Linkedin is a great way to learn about jobs. It also has a great feature where you can instantly apply for a job, complete with your CV & Linkedin profile. Once you get Linkedin and know how to use it to your advantage, you’ll be fine.

Attend Interviews

It sounds insane & a waste of time… but hear me out! If you are offered an interview for a role – even if it’s a job you’re not interested in, GO FOR IT. If you can afford it, I highly recommend attending as many interviews as possible because gaining experience in a variety of interview settings will prepare you for so much!

Job hunting is stressful & tiring so don’t forget to treat yourself! Go out with friends & have fun. If you have a job, jam pack your days off with things you want to do.

*This stat is based on my own knowledge & experience!

Good Luck!

CareerGirl Xo