Networking is an effective way to support your job search and career goals. To get the most out of your networking, understand your goals and create a plan to achieve them. By making a conscious decision to create and execute your networking plan you will see greater results.
- First understand what results you want to get from your networking activities. Are you networking because you are in job search mode? Are you looking to build your network to expand your career horizons? Is your goal to identify strategic partners? Is your networking objective to find customers? By understanding what you want to get out of your networking activities, you can best determine where to spend your efforts.
- Next determine where you will find the people you want to network with. Look for professional organizations, Chamber of Commerce, community groups, trade shows and educational events which would be of interest to your ideal networking contacts. Research these opportunities to understand the attendance levels and typical attendee. Determine the cost to attend the event including any membership dues.
- Set a goal for the number of contacts you will meet during the event. By spending 5 to 7 minutes with each contact, you could plan to meet ten people in an hour. By the end of the event you will have a sample of the attendees. You can now determine if attending this event brought you closer to achieving your networking goals.
By creating a plan for your networking activities you will have a better chance to achieve your career and networking goals. Taking the time to plan your next networking activity may take more effort before the event though your networking results will be more rewarding.