Whether you’re looking for your next temp PA job or office support role, or are trying to excel in your current job, you’re likely to have been told “You need to network more!” Indeed, networking can provide useful contacts, insights, and even job opportunities. However, the word “networking” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of many! As a leading London PA recruitment agency, we know that networking can boost your career, so here our top 5 tips on how to network for those who really don’t love networking…
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead for networking events takes some of the fear out of the situation, as you remove the “unknowns”. Decide in advance what you’re going to wear—make sure it’s something you’re comfortable in, as well as looking professional. Map your journey so you won’t be late. Plan to stay for a certain amount of time, such as 40 minutes. Set yourself a limit on how many people you’d like to speak to. Don’t feel you need to speak to 30 people, as quality is more important than quantity in networking
2. Don’t go it alone
It’s a lot less scary to attend networking events if you take someone with you. Ask one of your colleagues whether they’d like to go with you—they might actually appreciate the opportunity! If you can’t find anyone to go with you, a great trick is waiting for a few minutes outside the meeting place (such as by the cloakroom or in the drinks area) and then saying “Hi” and introducing yourself to someone who’s also on their own. Chances are, they’re as nervous as you and would be glad to enter the event with someone, rather than on their own!
3. Ask open questions
Part of your planning should be preparing some questions to ask people, meaning you avoid uncomfortable introductions or awkward silences. The best kind are open questions, as they give people the opportunity to tell you about themselves, which people love doing! So, rather than asking a yes or no question like “Are you a PA?”, ask more generally “What do you in your PA job then?” Don’t be afraid to ask non-work questions too, such as what they enjoy doing outside of work, as this often makes the conversation more interesting, and you’re more likely to find you have things in common.
4. Listen to the answers
A big part of networking is listening to what people say. Firstly, if you’re actively listening, then you’re focusing less on your worries about networking. Secondly, it means you can take note of people’s answers to share similar experiences and ask them more about it. For example, “Oh that’s really interesting, what was it like working in an EA job?” This means the conversation flows naturally, and you come across as interested in the other person.
5. Make friends, not contacts
While you might have gone to the networking event looking for a permanent PA job or potential future employers, it’s far better to go in with the mindset of making friends rather than seeking business contacts. You’ll come across much better by being yourself and being friendly, rather than by “networking hard” and trying to sell yourself to anyone who will listen. Build rapport, share your personal stories, and enjoy speaking to people. This also extends to keeping in touch—don’t feel you need to hand them a formal business card—why not offer to share your email address instead and suggest meeting for a coffee some time?
If you’re looking for a temporary or permanent PA job in London, or you’d like more top tips on how to find your next job opportunity, then get in touch today. At Love Success, we love helping people find their dream jobs in the capital and further afield.
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