How You See Yourself Impacts Networking

We’ve heard it a million times: “In order to find job opportunities, you have to network!”

This message is as true as it is obvious. However, if you ask any given association, organization, support group or hiring manager, you’ll probably find that everyone has a different idea of what networking actually means. Things like:

• Talking with people in networking groups about job openings you can chase.

• Connecting with friends past and present in any field, alerting them that you really need a job.

• Calling or meeting for coffee, asking contacts to pass your resume around to everyone they know.

• Adding as many contacts to your LinkedIn profile as possible so anyone who’s looking for a good worker can find you.

But these approaches don’t let the real “you” shine through, instead potentially coming off as needy or desperate.

The key to smart, strategic networking starts with you and your core beliefs about yourself. Long periods without solid job leads or receiving rejection letters – or not hearing back from the interviewer at all – can take its toll on how you view yourself. Too many people get lazy and make assumptions, like “they want someone cheaper” or “I’m too old” and “They already had someone in mind.” While some of these things could be true, you should be looking internally and asking the harder questions. Things like “Does my networking strategy have holes in it?” or “How can I network smarter?” and “How can I add value while networking with employers who don’t have an opening?”

Do you notice the difference between the two approaches? One assumes you are the victim. The other shows you know you have something to offer. Your response reveals how you see yourself. And if you’re making excuses, the time has come to take the next step in positioning yourself as someone worth networking with.

How do you do that? By creating an attraction strategy that helps you identify what will draw employers to you. Have this nailed down, and making contacts is the easy part:

1. Identify the right people to create a personal “connection” within a focused industry or targeted company.

2. Speak confidently. Develop a compelling message so others will want to help you make connections, give advice and most importantly become your advocate. Put yourself in their shoes – would you be inspired to help you?

3. Have a genuine interest in them. Look for ways you can make connections for them.

4. Get comfortable with the unknown. Anticipate and believe that the unexpected will happen!

This is more than just seeing the glass half full. This is discovering core beliefs about yourself and having the confidence to live them out. It’s putting those core beliefs on display for others, believing that doing so will lead to opportunities you may never have even imagined before.

How are you creating this attraction strategy?

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