Moving along in our Job Search Checklist from A to Z blog series, N represents something you should be doing every day (not only when looking for a job): Networking.

Whether you like it or not, networking is a necessary part of your job search and career. For some of us, it comes naturally; for others it’s more of a challenge.

So, what do you do if you networking isn’t your strong suit? Here are 4 ways to give networking a shot.

  1. Have a good opening pitch. It’s a lot easier to start a conversation when you have something to say. Prepare a 15-second elevator pitch that you can modify for any networking opportunity. An elevator pitch will help you succinctly state who you are and what you’re all about. It lets you kick off a conversation without having to think too much. Also, if you practice delivering your pitch, you won’t sound as nervous as you may feel.
  2. Schedule a calendar of networking to-dos. Make a plan of how, when and where you need to network. Include things like sending out email updates, making plans for networking lunches, going to events and more. Spread out your activities so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  3. Set networking goals. You will get more accomplished if you hold yourself accountable. Start by establishing reasonable goals, such as 5 new contacts per week. Then, move on to bigger and better goals. Give yourself concrete action items and timelines.
  4. Reward yourself when you complete networking activities. For me, anytime I finish something extremely complicated or difficult, I like to reward myself. It sounds pretty juvenile, but it can be very motivating. I’m not talking huge rewards, but something like a trip to Starbucks or an iTunes gift card can really perk me up and make me want to do more.

Networking should play a key role in your life – at every stage of your career. Everyone has something to share or something interesting to say, and networking should just be a natural extension of that sharing. There are plenty of people out there who love networking, maybe you’ll become one of them.

This Career Coach blog post is part of the series: Your Job Search Checklist from A to Z. If you are interested in checking out the webinar on the same topic, click here. Otherwise, keep watching the Career Coach blog for 26 job search alphabet posts.

Jill Kempka

About Jill Kempka

Jill loves to share information about ways to keep up with the changing world of work. She focuses on quick tips, facts and helpful lists to give job seekers tactics and advice they can immediately use.