Make the most of networking meetings

Dec 9 2011 - 7:37pm

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Networking is a powerful approach to finding work. Attending networking meetings should be a major part of your job search effort. A quick Google search can yield any number of networking meetings available in your area.

While your job search should always include dressing and looking the part, wearing a suit and tie may not be the best approach. For women, dressing in evening wear may be equally unwise.

I worked with a high-level executive who was doing a great job attending networking meetings. He mentioned that he could spot the job seekers because they were the only ones wearing suits and ties and evening wear. The businessmen and women who were at these events to grow their businesses typically wore more business casual attire.

So, if you are attending networking meetings, business casual attire is the way to go.

We will focus on two types of networking meetings: those for companies to grow their business and networking group meetings specifically designed for job seekers.

The Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce holds a business networking meeting called Business After Hours. Held the second Wednesday of each month, this event can help you connect with local businesses and expand your network.

LDS Employment Resource Services, the Department of Workforce Services and OCM Inc., a local outplacement firm, hold regular networking meetings specifically designed for job seekers.

Here are a few things to remember as you attend either type of networking meetings:

  • Develop and memorize a 30-second summary of yourself. This is not the time for a history of your life or career.
  • Attend the meeting with a willingness to help others first. If everyone came with such an attitude, everyone in the meeting wins, including you.
  • Be able to express what a good networking contact is for you. For example, "A good networking contact for me is someone who hires electricians."
  • Follow up on every contact you get. Good networking comes from nurturing contacts, not just developing them.

If the meeting is designed for businesses and not for job seekers, do all you can to share information that may help those you speak with.

Be respectful of why the meeting is being held and do all you can to support that purpose. In this setting, getting contact information for your own networking purposes should be secondary.

If the meeting is for job seekers, getting contact information for your own networking should be your primary goal.

In both settings, helping others first creates an environment where others will be more willing to help you. Your example will also help the meeting be more productive.

Ron Campbell has worked extensively in the job preparation and job search industry. He can be reached at 801-386-1111 or campbellrv@gmail.com.

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