Did you know that one of the most effective ways to be in the right place at the right time to get a job in information technology is by networking with your peers? The use of networking during a professional career search is not new. Industry groups and communities have been around in IT for a long time. However, since the explosion of the use of social networks in the last few years, networking in IT has taken on larger than life proportions.
To get the most out of IT networking as a job seeker, it’s important to understand that this is a unique community with many great opportunities to connect with the right people. Here are some things you need to know as you venture out into networking activities.
Focus on industry specific meet ups.
To make the most of your networking activities, take the time to go to live events that enable you to meet a wide variety of people in the IT industry. Join a few online IT communities and participate in discussions. By being in the presence of peers, you will be empowered and learn where the best jobs are.
Go to networking groups with an open mind.
Just like every other interaction you may have, keep an open mind when becoming part of networking group. While you may think you are only good at certain aspects of IT, you will likely find new ideas that can help you gain an edge in the job market.
Be prepared with business cards.
For a naturally introverted IT professional, that first greeting can be nerve wracking. Yet, you can make this more pleasant and sand out as a polished pro by presenting a nicely designed business card to everyone you meet. Take the time to include your name, your areas of specialty, and your contact info to make it easier for recruiters to get in touch with you.
Learn to make small talk more productive.
Instead of just talking about yourself at IT networking events, learn to be a reflective listener to make small talk more productive. While you are trying to impress others in the hopes of getting a job referral, showing personal interest in what others are doing can be a good way to win friends who may be future co-workers.
Use networking to build relationships, not just job leads.
IT networking is a fun and productive way to get out there and look for job opportunities, but this activity is more about building key relationships with your peers. When an IT firm starts a massive recruitment campaign, these relationships count. Learn to tactfully follow people you connect with using social networks and use networking consistently to foster these relationships.
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