In many ways, networking has gotten a bad rap. I mean, the components of the word networking— “net” and “working”—just sound like you’re trapped in something you can’t wait to be done with. It seems too “sales-y.” Introverts generally abhor the concept. And what do you say?
Let’s think a moment beyond the concepts and connotations. Networking is actually one of the most natural things in the world. It’s relationship-building. It’s connecting. Making friends. Helping each other out. We wouldn’t say that ants network, but they do just that. All social animals have relationships with other beings. And although we wouldn’t consider the Amish barn-raisings to be a networking event, it is. People come together. They talk and find things they have in common. They help each other if they can. If they enjoy each other’s company or find value in being together, they meet up again. They are building community.
When you’re designing your career, building your community becomes fun. When you’re looking for work doing what you love, you automatically have things in common who also love doing that thing. When you hang out with people who have similar values, passion, and interests, you’ll have plenty to talk about and plenty to offer each other.
Effective community-building relies on you knowing yourself and what you want. Once that’s clear, go meet like-minded people! Go to events that interest you and say hello to the person next to you. Chances are, you already know like-minded people who also know like-minded people that you don’t know. Ask ‘em to introduce you. Use online networking sites like LinkedIn or MeetUp to introduce yourself to like-minded people. This extremely effective job-searching strategy is fun, easy (or easy-ish), and authentic.
If you’re figuring out what career path you want to travel, I’ll help you explore your options. If you need help with resume writing or interviewing, I’ll work with you on those skills. Become the designer of your own career with Be the Change Career Consulting. Contact me today for a complimentary 30-minute consultation.