Do you find yourself needing a job now? If so keep reading for some great insight about networking.
Networking To Find A Job
When you walk into a networking reception or a job interview or an informational interview, is your head held high? Are you enthusiastic about being there, do you look the person in the eyes and smile, do you engage them in a mutually beneficial conversation? Or do you look at your feet, chew gum, speak softly, or worse, look away from the person and act like you are bored to be there? Do you employ professional etiquette, and honor and respect the person with whom you are conversing? Like it or not, people notice these things, both consciously and subconsciously. They see how you treat them and they make decisions about you and your brand based on your attitude. And since perception equals truth in the minds of the public (and everyone is a member of the public including your twin and your clone), they assume what they witness is the truth. Your networking (and career advancement) goal is to ensure that what others perceive about you is the truth.
So it is critical for you to always have a positive, professional attitude when speaking with and interacting with members of the publics. We want to ensure that when someone observes your attitude that they are left impressed – by you, your talents, your expertise, your credentials, and so on, which will encourage them to want to engage you again. This is the start of the networking partnership; this is the start of the other party beginning to think about offering you access to that Hidden Platter of Opportunities. But if someone perceives you in a negative light at a mixer, conference or other event, and they know nothing else about you, having never met you before, your negative attitude can immediately cause any opportunities (hidden and advertised) to disappear. In other words, when you honor me with a positive attitude, it is so powerful that I can see myself building a relationship with you and my mind starts to wander to look for opportunities for collaboration. Conversely, if you display a negative attitude my mind immediately closes down, and my singular interest is to get away from you. As the Seinfeld character the Soup Nazi might say: No opportunities for you!
But of course it is not only at cocktail receptions that your attitude convinces people whether they want to partner with you. Attitude goes a long way in converting job interviews into actual job offers. This is even the case in academia, which plays host to a diversity of personalities and attitudes. When you go for an interview at an academic institution, it is important to have a positive attitude and to demonstrate in your words, actions, and even your job talk that you are collegial and are someone that will add value to the department through not only your skills and experience but via your collaborations and discussions as well. When you interview for the job and have conversations with departmental faculty, the chair, and the dean, all of these other parties are trying to get a sense from you about your willingness to contribute to the team. Your attitude is the marker that provides them with this strategic information. Of course, this attitude towards attitudes extends beyond academia to all other sectors.
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