How did you get your last job? If you got it by answering a want ad, consider yourself lucky. This old school method of job search is popular in classic movies, but has little application to life in this day and age. Any want ad almost certainly has a multitude of people vying for that position, so you had better really stand out from the pack.
Sometimes people luck out because they heard there was an opening at a company, and just happened to catch the boss when they were in. They made a good impression and walked away with a job offer. However, it’s not wise to rely on luck, and networking is a proven way to learn about the hidden job market and potential positions you would otherwise not know about.
Networking opens doors, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Shy people are often intimidated by this method. Here are some suggestions that can make networking a bit easier
Start with Small Steps
Try speaking to some people at an event and see how comfortable you feel. It is not even necessary to talk about job search; just make general conversation.
Becoming more experienced and confident at this sort of thing can lead naturally to you feeling better about networking.
Pick Comfortable Spots
Are there any places in your life where you feel naturally at ease, and comfortable striking up a conversation? These are excellent spots to try out your networking. You can always start with people you already know and then branch out.
Try Less Comfortable Spots
Once you feel more confident, try speaking to strangers in less familiar places. This can be at a networking event or even just a place that is new to you. Start with one or two people each time, analyze how you did, and then gradually increase.
Like most everything in life, networking gets easier the more often you do it. Even if you are not currently looking for work, try expanding your horizons now so that you will be comfortable networking when it’s time for a career change.