How Networking Is A Party by Leslie Juvin-Acker
Party time, excellent! Find out how networking during the job hunt can be seen as a party and how you can socialize your way onto the dance floor and land your next big break.
Express Yourself & Come As You Are
The most important principle of networking is expressing ourselves freely with a clear understanding of our gifts and overall message - for this, we must take responsibility. We can’t control who “gets it”, but we can control ourselves and what we say.
With free self expression, networking isn’t a shotgun approach; a one-size-fits-all message doesn’t suit everybody. Have you been at a party where, with beverage in hand, you go around the room talking to people? Some people you just don’t vibe with and, after a while, try to awkwardly sidestep away from them? And others you laugh and talk with for the rest of the night? Let’s call that party life - and in more specific terms, the job search.
There are moments during the job search party, where we find ourselves alone, standing in the corner feeling sorry for ourselves. Eventually, we force ourselves to get over our insecurities and start introducing ourselves to everyone - sometimes we click with others (professionals) and sometimes we don’t. There will be at least one or two people at the job search party who we click with and will want to work with us, too, because when it comes to networking, the first question we ask ourselves is, “Who can I trust?” However, the second, and more important question we should be asking ourselves is, “Who can trust me?”
The principle here is to go into the job search party introducing ourselves to everyone we can, but understanding that not everyone will be receptive to what we have to say and that does not mean we’re being rejected or that there’s something wrong with us at a core level. It takes a lot of guts to stop trying to please everyone and focus on ourselves, our strengths, and our vision. To see ourselves clearly is a mental and emotional feat that not all people can accomplish, but when we do it makes it easier for the right networking partners to see us in our truest light - and that sets the foundation of trust.
Finding A Dance Partner: Getting Pointed Into The Right Direction
After joining the job search party, we eventually get out of our heads and into socializing and talk with different kinds of people (those we click with and those we don’t). The music is blasting and it’s time to dance; a moment where we really put ourselves out there! People start to pair up and get to groovin’ and we feel nervous that we’re not going to find a partner - in this case, a job. But, lo’ and behold, the friends (networking partners) we made at the party point us in the right direction saying there’s a babe (a job or career) standing at the punch bowl, looking for a partner, too. You lock eyes, make a silly gesture, laugh, somebody extends their hand, and off to the dance floor you go… and thus the dance (new opportunity) begins.
Maybe, you and your dance partner will fall in love and be together forever (a career). Maybe your affair lasts only for a few months or years after meeting (a job), or perhaps you just dance for the song or for the evening (freelance). None of that matters as long as you’re engaged in the moment and supported by your friends and enjoying your dance partner’s company.
When it comes to networking, think of it as a party where we put ourselves out there to everyone, but we’ll make key connections with just a few. And, when the time comes to find a partner (a job or career) and observe ourselves looking around the room (the job market), trust that our friends will point us in the right direction. Sometimes, others can see opportunity where we can’t and networking is the perfect way to see things with fresh eyes. So, join the party, be yourself, and trust that those who get you will help point you in the right direction. Expect the unexpected miracles of networking!
Coach Leslie’s Questions To Ask:
1) Who in my network trusts and sees the real me?
2) Taking responsibility for my professional image, what am I saying? Is it true to me?
3) While being myself, am I consistently kind to everyone (even conflicting personalities) I meet? Do I try to please everyone?
4) What are 3 strengths or areas of focus that I can easily mention while networking?
5) What perspective can my networking partners offer to help me see myself and job search in a new way?