When applying to manufacturing jobs, or any job, one of the key aspects to landing the job you want is networking. Below, we go over how you can build a network to help you in your career.
Change The Way You Think About Networking
There are a lot of things in your life you can’t control, but your attitude is something that you alone control! If you go into a networking event with a negative attitude, then chances are you probably won’t have the best experience. Be positive! Positivity will help conversations become more engaging and valuable. Furthermore, your positivity will help you appear more confident to those around you despite what you may be feeling on the inside.
Try to avoid thinking of networking events as these huge daunting tasks with the added pressure of meeting and connecting with a whole group of strangers.
Carefully Choose Your Connections
LinkedIn is for professional networking, so set this as your strategy. Worthwhile connections are key so choose quality over quantity. Think of both the long and short-term potential for the connection. When you meet someone and send an invitation to connect, include a personal note or message stating how you know the person or why they should connect with you. Stay away from the canned invitations unless you know someone extremely well. Remember that second and third-level connections can be valuable as well, and your mutual first-level connection can help make an introduction.
Use LinkedIn to grow your personal brand. Join groups related to your industry or field of expertise. Stay active in the groups by posting questions or comments and sharing articles. Follow thought leaders on LinkedIn to see how their blogs and suggestions can help you. Be consistent, credible, and knowledgeable so that you can be seen as a go-to person for your peers. Here are some ways that you can look more knowledgeable:
1. Use the search box to find the company you want to work for and employees from the company should appear among the search results.
2. Connect with as many of those employees as you can, regardless of whether they are past or present. Past employees may still have connections to the company, (and you want to utilize all of your options)!
3. Invite them to connect as a “friend” and then send them a personal note. Just two or three sentences is sufficient. Make sure to ask about how they like working for the company, as well as if they would be willing to talk to you for five minutes or so about what they do (or did) on a day-to-day basis.
4. When the two of you do connect over the phone, make sure the conversation stays focused on them and their experiences with the company. Don’t make the conversation about you or ask them for any favors right now. When the conversation ends, if it goes well, usually they will ask what you are interested in and if they can help in any way. This is what you’ve been waiting for! You haven’t asked them for anything, yet they’ve offered their assistance to you.
Searching for employees via LinkedIn is one of the best ways to connect with today's professionals; however, it is by no means the only method! Other options include joining groups and using your alumni network.
Attend Virtual Networking Events
Although attending these events may be somewhat stressful for you, it is necessary and it does get easier over time. However, every once in a while you can take the pressure off yourself by attending virtual networking events, using sites such as Mingle or LinkedIn. There are plenty of these events available to you, just take the time to look for them! You may find that by attending these virtual sessions, your comfort level increases with the thought of attending face-to-face events.
We cannot all be center of attention, eye catching, extroverts; but, in the professional world, we can all benefit from learning how to make strong connections in a networking setting. So next time you receive an email invitation for one of those chamber luncheons or after hours social, graciously accept and follow these tips. You may be surprised at how social you can be!
Don't Linger with Existing Connections
Networking can help you acquire more professional and social contacts, build your business, and create viable referrals. While it is always nice to visit with people you already know at a networking event, it is not making the best use of your time. Make the effort to speak to the people you know, but do not linger with existing contacts. Spending too much time with an existing contact can take away from an opportunity to meet a new connection.
Networking doesn’t have to be scary but can be a fun experience for you to meet others in your industry and a place for you to possibly get advice from and connect with those with completely different points of view. Have fun with it and don’t feel too overwhelmed. By cultivating the right networks, you will be able to create a community to help you land your position in no time.
MAU Workforce Solutions is an innovative global company with extensive experience providing solutions for success in staffing, recruiting, technology and outsourcing to our clients, employees and applicants. Headquartered in Augusta, GA since 1973, MAU is a family and minority-owned company offering better processes and better people to create efficiencies and greater profits for our clients. Our relationships with world-class companies, our training programs and our culture of family allow MAU to offer better results, better jobs and better lives to those who work with us. For additional information about MAU, visit www.mau.com.