Growing your network is not only a strategy for job searching, it is an essential life skill. As Canadians, when summer arrives we love to get out and enjoy activities, family, and friends. Whether it be connecting with long-lost relatives or friends or making new acquaintances, summer is full of networking opportunities.
Think of all the possibilities:
§ family events - BBQs, reunions, weddings, baby showers, celebrations of life
§ sports activities (team and individual) - golfing, running, soccer, baseball, paddling, swimming, bicycling, hiking and walking
§ community events - picnics, street parties, food truck rallies, music concerts
§ pet events - dog clubs - special event days and competitions
§ festivals, farmers markets, exhibitions - music, agricultural, and art
§ craft shows, flea markets, yard sales
§ national and provincial holidays
§ industry and business conferences
To start a conversation with someone you don't know, notice something about the other person, comment on their jewelry, clothing, accessories, a book they may be carrying, even the weather to engage the other person. Don't forget to introduce yourself.
You can propose playing a version of the 6 Degrees of Separation game to see if you can identify any commonalities between yourselves. By asking 6 questions such as where they are from, what community do they live in, what type of work they do, what are their interests and hobbies, where they went to school, and people they may know; you may be able to establish a mutual connection.
If you find a mutual connection or identify a common interest, then you may be inclined to follow up with your new acquaintance. Staying in touch via social media is easy these days. You can build a rapport by engaging on social media - sharing information, commenting on and liking their posts.
People who are actively engaged in managing their careers hone their networking skills to expand their scope of influence. They understand the value of establishing, maintaining and growing their formal and informal networks. By doing so, they are more apt to hear of work or career opportunities of interest to themselves or others. Pass on any job leads that you hear about to others to create a climate of reciprocity.
Remember the Golden Rule of Networking - it is better to give than receive!
If you need additional help with learning how to build your network, contact a Certified Career Development Professional, firstname.lastname@example.org