Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Networking for introverts: The transition from shy to connected

So you've heard it before: The best way to get a job is to network. Get out there. Meet people. Chat it up. Show them how amazing you are. Simple enough, right? Well, for many of us it's not quite that easy. For allot of us networking is a four letter word. There's no denying how effective it is. If you could only get your foot out the door. So what can you do to get past this?

Here's a few creative options to try:

1. Hire a coach :). Seriously, this is why I do what I do. It's more than just tasks on a list. It's more than just you getting out there. It's all about finding what suits you. It's about having a partner in crime. It's about knowing what's unique about you. Before I work on any goals with my clients, I help them to explore who they are. I help them to face inner obstacles. We're only motivated when it's something we want - something that we've placed value on. People may say you need to get out there, but you have to see it and feel it firsthand. You have to make it work for you. You have to find ways to enjoy it. This is what I help people do: :)

2. Hook up with your old college network. Find people in your current field or in the field you've been thinking about changing to. Reach out to them. Tell them what you're up to. Find out what's up with them. If they're nearby, invite them to lunch or some tea (for those of us on a budget :). Ask them for some insights. Also, they most likely have some connections. With one call you can triple your network.

3. Share information with others - articles, blog posts, contacts. Networking is a two way street. Scratch their back and they will likely scratch yours. It's also just the right thing to do. After all, we're in this together.

4. Set up a LinkedIn account (if you haven't already). Reach out to groups in your field. Search the job postings. Create a brief summary of what you're looking for. Include what kind of value you add. Again, it's a two way street. It has to be a fit on both sides.

5. Request Informational Interviews. You've decided to change your career. You have no idea what to expect. Informational Interviews are perfect for this. They're also a great way to build your new network.

6. Reach out to family and friends. Tell them that you're looking for work. Be sure to remind them what you do :) If you're looking to do something different, tell them what it is. Include an updated resume as well as a brief cover letter.

7. Attend conferences or events in your area. It doesn't have to be in your field - just something that's of interest to you. When everyone breaks into groups, try raising your hand to ask questions. Interact with the person beside you. You can pretty much talk about anything. The trick is to draw people in. It's all about building relationships.

8. Create an online resume. This is a really great tool. You can even include your own summary, infused with your unique personality. This is a chance for people to see YOU - to figure out if you fit in their environment. Splash a little color in there. Maybe a picture. Set yourself apart from the crowd.

9. Post an ad in the classifieds (Ex. Talented writer seeking new opportunities). Think of yourself as a business. Think of your skills as a brand. How would you draw in your customers? What is the value you add? Give yourself your own title. Create your own mantra (Creativity, Ingenuity, Results). There's no one like you out there. They'd be lucky to have you on board.

10. Create a vision board. Maybe you're not even shy. The problem is you're all out of sorts. You're not quite sure what you're looking for. You're not sure who you are anymore. You're quiet cause there's nothing to say. This exercise is great for clarity and creative expression. It helps you visualize what you want to do next or at least the person that you see yourself being.

11. Find fun ways to draw people in. Throw on a few statement pieces: a colorful scarf, a unique piece of jewelry, a crazy or creative handbag. Walk around with it. Wear it out for lunch. Most likely people will ask about it. Tell them the story behind it. Inspire some new conversations. If you're nervous about going to them; get them to come to you.

12. Make a video. If you have a skill, create a tutorial. Talk about something you've learned. Position yourself as an expert. If you want to can post it on You Tube or just keep it in your personal archive. The point is getting used to presenting yourself.

13. Write an article for your community paper. It can be about anything, but preferably the work that you do. Again, this is a chance to be creative. Be aware of your environment. Tie it in to what you see going on. Overall, it's all about making connections and showing them what makes you unique!

No comments:

Post a Comment