The best way to find job opportunities or advance your career is to build your professional network. Of course, networking requires meeting people, and you may not know how to go about finding the right people. It might seem a bit overwhelming, but the process is not as complicated as you might think.

Get in the networking mindset. Most find it’s easier to network when they’re searching for a new job. However, even if you aren’t actively lining up interviews or searching for a new position with a staffing service recruiter, getting into a job search mindset helps improve your networking efforts. Networking is an important relationship-building tool as it exposes you to additional opportunities within your current company, or to find a new job.

Make a commitment to spend 15 to 30 minutes each day on productive networking activities. Without focus, you might spend hours reading emails, job postings or LinkedIn pages and never develop a relationship with a real person. Although some activities help you learn about a new career, others may just be time wasters.

Attend career-related events. Career-related events are a perfect time to network and build new relationships. It’s important to remember these are meant as jumping-off places for relationship building, so be yourself! Don’t start off a relationship with a lie. Be truthful about yourself, your goals and your abilities. Work with your contract staffing recruiter to develop strategies before you attend an event.

Set reasonable expectations for yourself while you’re there. Set a goal to feel out a new organization, meet five new people or specifically connect with one or two. But, don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to achieve all three. Pick one and run with it.

Networking events are time to build rapport so you get a second meeting. A great way to do that is to ask questions. Prepare by developing questions that will enhance a conversation and demonstrate your knowledge.

This preparation time also gives you the chance to consider why the person you’ll be speaking to should care about you and what you’re saying. You only have a short time to make an impression, so try to make a favorable one.

Get social. The same rules apply as you grow your social media network circles. LinkedIn is a networking platform specifically for business people. Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful tool within Facebook to help you find people in your industry.

Once you’ve connected with individuals with the same career and business interests, build relationships by offering them something of value. It’s important you don’t start by selling yourself or asking for a favor, but instead offer yourself as a valuable resource, possibly with experience gained through working in temporary employment positions. Never share specific company information, but instead the expertise you gained through working in the industry.

You can also share expert knowledge by sending links to news items your connection may find interesting or linking them with an expert to help solve a problem they may be having. For instance, they may have commented their dog was sick and you know an excellent vet in the area, or their company was designing a new logo and you have a resource for a graphic designer. Whether business or personal, you’ll make powerful connections by providing resources.

Would you like more ideas on how to successfully expand your career networking? The experts at Stellar Staffing Solutions will work with you to help you find great jobs in Napa Valley.

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