Many have been caught off guard when the latest pandemic struck the world. As it is with any economic downturn, it is ideal to have a safety net to cushion an unexpected fall. Your safety net can be your savings and it can also be your network.
But what is your network, or better yet, who is in your network?
Your network is not the people you know, rather, it is the people who know and remember you. In a time like this, they are the people who can directly offer work/business opportunities, or at the least, connect you to those who can.
How do you build your network?
1) Time. Networks are built slowly. You do not start building a network only when you need one. Every day is a chance to meet and befriend someone so make sure to keep your eyes open.
2) Expand your crowd. To network properly, you need to learn how to be out there and mingle. Keep abreast with the news or what’s happening in the market so conversation can flow nicely.
3) It is reciprocity. Networking is not just about taking, it is also about giving. You will be remembered more by your contacts if you’ve assisted them in any way. It can be as simple as sharing your knowledge or giving recommendations when asked.
4) Keep your social media posts positive. We tend to gravitate towards people with the same mindset. It is the positive thinkers who can give you encouragement or right nudge when needed. These are the types you’ll be needing more of.
5) Stay in touch. You don’t want to be that friend who only keeps in touch when you need something. Keep communications open even after the first meeting. A simple birthday or holiday greeting is proven to bring joy to people.
6) Socialize. Luckily, socialization nowadays has become really easy with the advent of online platforms. With the pandemic limiting our social gatherings, we can always interact online. This is likewise good for a few introverts who find face-to-face interaction quite draining.
7) Store contacts properly. You end-up scratching your head when you realize you have two or more contacts of the same name on your phone. Next time, include a unique identifier such as a company name or place to help you remember the person by.
8) Don’t disregard people just because they are not part of your ‘niche’. You might find yourself needing varied social circles at one point. Never say never to anyone.
9) Be open but set your boundaries. Not everyone needs to know so many details. Over sharing can be a turn-off. Leave some to be discussed during proper tête-à-têtes or one-on-one conversations.
10) Be centered. Be prepared to encounter the unlikely because as it is, minds are not created the same. When you meet someone not to your liking, remain respectful and professional. Your actions should not be affected by how others treat you.
Networking can be truly rewarding if done correctly. It takes practice and patience. Keep paying it forward. In time, it will pay off.
In the job landscape, recruiters acknowledge that hard skills are nothing without an employee’s soft skills, sometimes, even most important in a resume. What used to be black and white in employability skills are now introduced with gray areas that we need to take notice of.