The paradigm shift for many is how they can spend more time networking. In order to make networking the major focus of your job search, you need to turn every opportunity into an information gathering session. Remember, networking is equal parts giving and taking. Based on the information you have gathered, you should know how you can help the individual you are speaking with. Remember these key rules:
Networking is not about asking for a job.
By showing interest in what others do and learning about them you will gain some respect. Most people are flattered when asked questions about what they do. They will reciprocate by asking about you. This is how relationships form.
Networking is about building and nurturing relationships.
Don't abuse relationships or take them for granted. Care for these relationships with kindness and courtesy.
So when are you networking? Ask instead, when are you not? Every activity you do provides an opportunity to gather info and build relationships.
- Visit to the hairdresser/barber
- Buying your morning cup of coffee
- Returning books to the library
- Watching your favorite high school sporting event
- The weekly trip to Wegmans
- The workout at the gym or rec center
- The waiting room at the doctor's office
- Your oil change mechanic
- Drinking coffee after church
- Attending professional development training or school
- Volunteer meeting
If you don't do these things, there's a bigger problem. Life is about relationships. Sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zone. Once you have changed your perspective, I guarantee your life will become more fulfilling. I don't think life was meant to be "all about us", its about other people. Try it- with risk there is reward.