The Beginner's Guide to Networking Without Any Connections

In this guide, we share our best tips for getting the process started so you can build up your network.

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When it comes to getting your dream job, connections are everything. In general, companies prefer to hire through referrals since it’s easier and safer for them. After all, if an employee they trust recommends someone, then logically, they’re more likely to make a good hire.

Companies fill 85% of their job openings via networking. The problem? Networking can seem very daunting if you don’t have any connections to kick things off. It can feel a bit like a chicken and egg situation—it’s harder to meet people if you don’t know anyone, and you can’t get to know people without meeting someone new!

Whether you’re starting a new career or you’re a recent grad looking for your first job, everyone has to start somewhere.

Here are some tips for getting the process started so you can build up your network.

1. Find Professional Organisations in Your Field

A great way to meet people with similar career goals and interests is to find professional organisations in your field and get involved! Many of these organisations have events, official networking channels, and opportunities to continue learning within your field.

2. Attend Conferences and Seminars

If you can make it happen, attending conferences and seminars related to your field will provide two major benefits. First, you’ll gain new knowledge and insights that will help you in your career. Second, you’ll meet like-minded people and make new connections.

Events that involve a class, seminar, or keynote are great for starting conversations and getting to know people. It gives you a natural topic to get a conversation going!

3. Go to Networking Events

If you’re shy or introverted, then the idea of attending networking events might be as appealing as a dentist appointment. However, they can be a great way to meet other people and form connections that could be mutually beneficial.

The more you attend these kinds of events, the easier it gets. Don’t let fear hold you back from building out your network.

4. Join Groups Online

Although in-person events tend to be the best way to form strong professional relationships, you can also meet people online in your field who are interested in talking about their work and making new connections.

There are countless professional groups on social media sites like LinkedIn, Reddit, Facebook, and more. Join a few groups and hop in on the conversations to start making connections. You might even meet other people in your area!

5. Consider Cold Pitching

This tactic makes many people break into a cold sweat, but it can be surprisingly effective. Reaching out to people you admire in your field with a short, personalised note and asking them for a quick phone call or coffee chat about what they’ve been working on is a good way to build connections and create a network from scratch.

6. Look for Additional Networking Opportunities

You might not realise that there are opportunities for networking in your everyday personal life. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you do with people you meet, if the conversation leads to the topic.

Whether it’s the man sitting next to you in the airport bar or a friend of the family you meet at a dinner party, there are potential networking opportunities everywhere. Keep those business cards handy— you never know when you might have a chance to expand your network.

7. Mine Your Personal Network

You may think you don’t have any connections, but that might not be true! We all have a personal network, and you might be surprised by who in your circle can help you in your career.

Make a list of people you know who might have some valuable connections and reach out to them via email. Keep it short, simple, and appreciative. The worst they can say is “I can’t help you.”

8. Keep It Simple!

Whenever you find yourself in a networking situation, you might find yourself freezing up. This is very common! Many people have no idea of what to say to someone they don’t know.

Just keep it simple. A smile and a “hello” is a great way to start a conversation. Introduce yourself and ask the other person about themselves. People love to talk about themselves, so it’s a great way to get the conversation going.

Give More Than You Take

When it comes to networking, it’s very easy to think about what other people can do for you and your career. But if you talk about yourself too much and push too hard, you’re likely to turn people off.

A good rule of thumb in networking is to give more than you take. Provide value whenever you can! If you can refer someone to a job opportunity, connect two people who have a lot in common, or help someone else solve a problem, then you’re going to start building goodwill.

When you approach networking by giving more than you take, you’ll start to find that other people give back to you! It really is a win-win and will make your networking efforts all the more effective and rewarding.

If you need more support in expanding your network and developing your skills, find a mentor for free today at PushFar.

This article was guest written by Andrew Deen.

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