When you are looking for a new job, or you want to change your career path completely, sometimes it is a case of who you know instead of what you know. We have known for years now that some great job opportunities can spring up from within our own networking community.
There is no doubt that making new connections through attending business networking meetings can give you precious leads about up and coming job vacancies. Often you can get to hear about them well in advance of them being advertised, giving you a chance to get your foot in the door first. In most cases establishing a friendly personal link with a trusted member of staff within a company can give you an advantage over a complete stranger going for the same job.
The value of having a strong network can never be denied, but successful networking doesn’t have to stop at your regular monthly networking event. There are other avenues to explore and different networks to establish that could bring in some very interesting and lucrative new leads for you too.
If you are tired of seeing the same old faces each month, then maybe you could try a new approach. It is time to think outside of the box and take your networking to a new, higher level!
Diversify your networks
After you have been networking a while, it can become a skill that you are really good at. However, you don’t need to keep your networking skills to just your regular meeting. You can start to diversify your networks by taking your skills out to different places. When networking becomes second-nature to you, it is easy for you to fit in just about anywhere, with just about everyone!
Networking by nature is simply making friends. Even the shyest and awkward people have a network of family and close friends that they feel comfortable with. It’s simply a case of extending your network wider and allowing people into your network that could be of help to you in some way, and that you can help in return.
You could even have a great deal of fun while forming new and diverse networks. Let’s look at some examples of what we mean here.
Take up volunteering
Lots of people work for charity organizations in paid positions, whether they are large national charities or smaller locally based organizations. Many social enterprises also welcome volunteers to take some of the load, especially if they are working on tight budgets.
Offering a few hours per week of volunteer work at a charity that you particularly like can not only allow you to learn some valuable new skills, but it also helps to get your name recognized within the organization. You can meet a lot of interesting charity workers and fellow volunteers that you can add to your network.
You will get to hear about any paid positions coming up within the charity that you can apply for, but also there may be some leads or opportunities that you never expected coming via your fellow volunteers, either at their place of work or even at their own business.
If you have children, it can be possible for you to form a new network of useful contacts through your school, nursery, playgroup, music group, art club, etc. You can have plenty of opportunities to speak with other parents from very diverse working backgrounds.
Schools hold regular events such as sports days, fetes, social evening, fundraisers and jumble sales. Use these events to form new contacts and put the word out that you are looking for a new job. You never know what information will be fed back to you!
Sports, fitness or hobby opportunities
Whether you join the local running club, take up golf, or decide to go to night school to learn a new hobby, there are plenty of opportunities to build new networks with people that have something in common with you.
While it can be hard to grasp that you are networking at these events rather than only making new friends, remember that you are still networking regardless of the setting. You never know where a conversation will go, or what job opportunity they may know about, you just have to give it a chance.
The old saying that the best form of advertising is through word of mouth isn’t wrong! By having conversations and making new connections, you are advertising yourself via word of mouth and letting people know that you are looking for a new job.