Networking 101 Or How To Connect To Get Hired
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Looking for a job is not easy. You struggle to find the right company, struggle to get seen by the recruiter and struggle to find clients. Multiple problems come up as you pave your way to your first paycheck. To succeed, you need to create an outstanding resume, write a CV, dive deep into Google search to spot job openings and nail interviews. We have covered this process and given you resources to help you in articles before, so today we will talk about the unconquerable beast – networking.
Read more: How to Apply for TEFL Jobs Abroad
What is “networking”? “Networking” is about building relationships and exchanging information to develop social and professional connections. Many believe that resumes and cover letters are not that important anymore, and only through networking can you successfully land a job. After all, they say it’s not what you know but who you know. The power of networking should not be underestimated. To ease you into it, we decided to share tips on how to network and connect to get hired.
When you’re starting out, don’t shy away from helping people for free. Your friends, family and colleagues are your networking group. They are the ones who can recommend you to their friends or their colleagues so it is necessary to build a professional image among your acquaintances. You don’t have to give them a full-on experience, but giving professional advice, offering to design something small, or helping to solve a small problem can be enough to establish a good image.
Know Your industry
Be aware of what is happening in your field. Keep up with events, trends, and news to ensure that you don’t miss out on any opportunities. Employers love to see workers immersed in their industry. Trust us; they know when somebody is just faking interest. You should be able to identify the recent innovations in your field and explain what you think about them. This is the kind of thing that will make you stand out in a crowd.
When it comes to teaching English as a foreign language, you can join a society like IATEFL. IATEFL is an international organisation which aims to link, develop and support TEFL teachers all over the world. If you become a member, you will receive a monthly e-bulletin with news from the industry, a bi-monthly publication, and the chance to attend annual conferences. The connections you can make through this one membership is definitely worth the few pounds it costs each year.
Go to networking events or events for your niche
Where can you find people who will recommend you for a job? At networking events or important events in your industry. That is why it is necessary to keep your finger on the pulse and never miss out on things. Keeping up with the industry lets you know where you should go to find people that share your interest and can later find you a job. Having said that, please don’t walk around and push resumes in their faces! Instead, go and have fun. Your only job here is to find people you can genuinely see yourself keeping in touch with after the event.
Get contact information
Don’t be afraid to ask for contacts after getting to know somebody. It may feel a little awkward at first, but with practice, you will feel more confident. Be specific, explain what you need from the person (name, email, etc.), and what you will use it for. For instance, if you want to grab a coffee and brainstorm an idea you have, tell them about it. If you want to connect with them on Linkedin, tell them about that as well. Networking is about building relationships, so make sure you are on the same page to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications.
Follow up with new connections after having an initial contact
Building a network is not just about connecting on Linkedin. Would you recommend a stranger to your boss if they were looking for somebody to hire? Probably not. To make use of your connections, you have to follow through and improve your relationships. Fundamentally, you need to constantly ask yourself, “Why do they need to talk to me? What can I bring to the table?”
Schedule coffee chats
Email them to schedule a coffee chat or a call. Let them know why you want to meet and explain how it is related to you. For instance, you want to ask more about the field or a project they worked on. Make sure you say how much time you want to take from them because they need to know if they can afford to talk with you. Mention days that would be comfortable for you and ask if you could meet next week.
A word of warning: Never ask for a referral on your first meeting. It is all about them, not you or your needs. If everything goes well, they may offer to give a referral themselves without you asking for it.
Example of an invite email:
Hi [First name],
It was great meeting you at [the name of the event]. I enjoyed learning about your experience in [the field] and would love to ask a couple of questions about your journey in this industry. I’m currently [working on something], and your words resonated with my project.
I understand that you are busy, but if you have some time, would you be able to meet with me for a 20-minute chat on Thursday next week?
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Reaching out to people and making new connections can be very tiring and frustrating sometimes. Remember that not everybody you connect with will become your reference. On average, people need to network with at least 15 people to get three connections! Nevertheless, these three people will be the ones who will care for you. So don’t be demotivated and continue to network!
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