Career & Education

Network like a pro this Christmas

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith

Sunday, December 17, 2017

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Dear Career Advisor:

I have been trying to re-enter the job market and I have received professional assistance in preparing my job search documents. I am also working hard on my likely responses to interview questions. Friends have been suggesting that I use networking as they say it is a sure method for landing a job or at least an interview. I am an introvert and I am petrified at the thought of reaching out to someone to indicate that I am job hunting.

Do you agree with them and if so what would you suggest I do?

Regards,

Dahlia D

Dear Dahlia:

It is commendable that you are taking the time to prepare yourself to be ready to embrace future career opportunities. We wish you every success in this regard.

Every so often the word 'network'/'networking' is expressed in connection with professional success. We are not able to definitively say that it is a sure way of landing a job. However, we can attest that it, along with preparation in the other areas of job-search, do enhance your chances.

For many introverts, the activity sounds daunting; however, if you take the time to learn and practise a few techniques, in no time you will be networking like a pro! Here are a few tips on how an introvert such as yourself can go about building a network.

1. Social media

For introverts who prefer quiet contemplation and careful formulation of thought, a blog is a good means of demonstrating possession of particular skills in the area of interest. In this manner, your brand will be built on the strength of your ideas.

2. One person at a time

Large groups usually drain the energies of introverts. Rather than attempting to form linkages in a crowd (eg, a conference), begin with the people you know, inviting them to lunch or some other environment in which you are comfortable. Identify a subject area in which the potential 'link' will be interested (eg, a current project) and use that as your platform. Build your network one person at a time.

3. Subtlety

It becomes much easier to form a connection with someone after he/she has initiated the conversation. Find subtle ways of stimulating conversation. (For example, wearing a special pin; putting a plaque on your wall) that will allow you to transition to meaningful discussion.

4. Strategise

Introverts are known for their need to recharge every so often. Use that 'off-grid' time to think strategically about your career — the kinds of people you should be making contact with, and how to go about it.

The festive season which spurs in many a spirit of care is as good a time as any to begin to utilise your networking skills.

Every success with your job search strategies.

Sincerely,

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at careeradvisor@ncu.edu.jm.

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