Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, co-author Work The Pond!
Summer is a time to chill out and networking isn’t on most people’s radar. Dressing up, standing around in a windowless hotel meeting room, doing something that you already find kind of stressful—who wants to do that when you could be at beach or on a bike ride after work? But if you are looking for a job, you don’t really get the summer off.
Do two things to make summer networking more enjoyable and productive. First, practice positive networking—discover what you can do for others. It is the defining principle of our brand of networking and it allows you to go out and meet others without worrying about selling yourself. Put the focus on the other person, and you’ll relax and enjoy social and business events without feeling stressed. And you’re still building your network!
Second, summer is the perfect time to get to meet new people in different “ponds”. Get creative. Take tennis lessons, go on a bike trip with an organized group, join a hiking club, learn to golf, row or take French. Will you meet new people? You bet.
But traditional business and social networking doesn’t shut down in the summer. Look in Monday newspapers for events happening that week. Go online and Google “calendar of events” in your city or go to Craig’s List.
Think about group invitations, especially if you’re usually a non-networker. Is there a group of you who can to go to an event? A group is a safe way to expand your potential invitees beyond your close friends to acquaintances. If you feel uncomfortable inviting someone you don’t know very well, you can approach them by saying, “I know you enjoy golfing and there is a great charity tournament coming up.” Or “you told me you like jazz and I am going with a group to see…”
Remember the power of The Strength of Weak Ties from my previous article: “more than eighty percent of the time, people who find jobs through networking find them through weak connections—acquaintances rather than close friends.”
Does this mean stepping out of your comfort zone? For most of us the answer would be yes. But, if the goal of your job search is to find the absolute best job imaginable, then make this the summer to expand your network and enjoy every moment of it!
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