Most things in life are a habit. Essentially we have to train ourselves to take certain actions each day until it becomes like second nature.
Networking is one of those job search actions that need to become a habit in order for it to be truly successful.
By making job search networking a habit, you not only increase your chances of finding a job, you’ll also start to feel like networking is more natural to you. Use these tips to help you create this new habit on your job search.
Call three contacts per day.
Calling three contacts per day, who are not part of your everyday dealings, expands your network and helps you touch base with your connections. The key point to emphasize that you need to call three contacts you do not already deal with on a daily basis.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and contact people you don’t talk to as often. Look at co-workers you have not spoken with in 6 months. Vendors you dealt with at a previous employer. College roommates and friends that you have not chatted with in eons. Neighbors that moved away and you lost touch. By cultivating these relationships you expand your network and increase your chances of getting a referral, since you are reaching out when you do not need it, initially, so you come across more genuine if you every reach out and do need something.
Commit to having lunch outside of your office at least once a week.
You’re not going to make any new connections or build solid relationships if you eat lunch at your desk.
Instead, commit to having lunch outside of your office at least once a week. Invite contacts that are nearby, go to restaurants you know people in your field enjoy or reach out to local, relevant contacts on LinkedIn and suggest meeting in person over lunch.
When going to a conference or work trip, aim to connect with one new person who is not involved with the event.
How often do you go to a conference only to talk to the same people every time? Or, how often do you go only to talk to event organizers or sponsors in the expo hall?
None of these scenarios are a smart use of your time.
One way to ensure you’re meeting someone new is to contact someone who is in the area and is not involved with the conference in any way. You can use social media to find out who is nearby and ask them to meet during the time you are at the conference. Other ways to reach out to new contacts is to participate in any online networking activities sponsored by the conference to make connections before you get there. Tweet about the conference using the conference twitter hashtag. Look at the attendee list and connect with anyone beforehand and request a get-together over coffee while you are both there.
Develop a networking ritual.
If we create a ritual when cultivating a new habit then it increases the chances of us sticking to it. For example, one such ritual is to do the same thing at the same time every day.
This may look like reaching out to new contacts first thing when you walk into the office. Send emails on Monday to five contacts asking if they can join you for lunch over the next few weeks to have your requests for lunch appointments be taken care of early in the week.
You can also use calendar apps like Timeful to set reminders for yourself so you don’t forget.
One of the reasons people find it difficult to set new habits is because they set their sights too high. The reality is you can’t change your behavior overnight.
You can combat this by starting off with simple things. For example, are you having a hard time calling those three contacts? Use James Clear’s 2 minute rule to get you going. That means just find a way to get started in two minutes. In this case it may be finding a contact’s information on LinkedIn.
Don’t worry about results right away.
Another reason habits don’t stick is because people get hung up on the results and quit when they don’t see immediate benefits.
Rather than worrying about the payoff, just focus on creating the habit. The payoff will come in time if you manage to change your behavior.