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Navigating Networking: Even For Introverts

Updated: Sep 22, 2023



Networking isn't just about exchanging business cards or connecting on social media; it's about building relationships that can open doors to new opportunities. According to recent statistics, a significant portion of job seekers find their next role through networking. In fact, studies suggest that as many as 70% to 85% of job openings are not publicly advertised but are filled through personal and professional connections.


By actively engaging in networking, you position yourself at the forefront of these hidden job opportunities. Building a network of colleagues, mentors, and industry peers can lead to referrals, introductions, and information that you might not have access to otherwise.


Here are some of our tips and tricks to get you out of your shell and on track when it comes to networking!


1. In-Person Networking Events:

Attending industry conferences, seminars, workshops, and meetups provides you with face-to-face interactions that can leave a lasting impact. These events offer opportunities to exchange ideas, learn from experts, and establish personal connections. Prepare ahead of time by researching the event and its attendees. Be open to starting conversations, ask questions, and actively participate in discussions. Follow up after the event by connecting on LinkedIn or via email


2. Online Networking Platforms:

Platforms like LinkedIn have revolutionized the way professionals connect and interact. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your skills, experiences, and achievements, making it a powerful tool for expanding your professional network. Craft a compelling LinkedIn profile that showcases your skills and experiences. Actively engage by commenting on relevant posts, sharing industry insights, and connecting with professionals who align with your career goals.


3. Industry-Specific Communities:

Joining forums, discussion groups, and online communities related to your field can help you connect with individuals who share your interests. These communities often offer a space for information exchange, collaboration, and problem-solving. Participate in discussions, provide value by sharing your knowledge, and seek advice when needed. Over time, you'll establish a reputation as a knowledgeable and engaged member of the community.


4. Networking Events and Mixers:

Networking events and mixers provide a platform for professionals from diverse backgrounds to come together, exchange ideas, and create lasting connections. These gatherings can range from industry-specific conferences to casual meetups in your local community. They offer the opportunity to interact with individuals who share your interests and passions, making it easier to strike up conversations and explore collaborative possibilities.


5. Alumni Associations

Alumni associations bridge the gap between the past and the present, offering a network of individuals who have shared experiences. Whether you graduated from a university, a professional training program, or a specialized course, alumni associations allow you to connect with fellow graduates. These connections often lead to valuable insights, mentorship opportunities, and a sense of camaraderie that can extend beyond your years of study.


6. Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are dedicated to advancing specific industries and fields. Joining such organizations provides access to a network of experts, practitioners, and thought leaders who are at the forefront of your chosen field. Engaging with these communities can lead to knowledge sharing, career development, and even potential job opportunities. Conferences, workshops, and seminars organized by these organizations offer a chance to interact with like-minded professionals and stay updated on industry trends.


7. Mentorship Programs

Mentorship programs facilitate meaningful relationships between experienced professionals and those seeking guidance and support. Having a mentor can offer valuable insights, advice, and a different perspective on your career choices. These programs provide a structured approach to networking, allowing you to build a connection that goes beyond a superficial level. Through regular interactions, mentors can help you navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and reach your goals.


So you may say, well Barbara, what if Networking is Hard for Me?


The quick answer is get over it, no really, it's okay if networking doesn't come naturally to you. Many professionals, even those who appear outgoing, can experience discomfort when it comes to striking up conversations with strangers or approaching new connections. If networking feels hard for you, consider the following strategies to make the process more manageable:


  • Start Small: Begin by attending smaller events or gatherings where the environment is less intimidating. This can help you ease into networking without feeling overwhelmed.


  • Set Realistic Goals: Instead of focusing on the number of connections you need to make, set achievable goals like engaging in a meaningful conversation with a few individuals.


  • Practice Active Listening: Sometimes, taking the pressure off yourself to talk can be helpful. Focus on listening attentively to others and asking thoughtful questions to steer the conversation.


  • Identify Common Interests: Finding common ground with others can make conversations flow more naturally. Look for shared interests or experiences that can serve as conversation starters.


Following Up and Maintaining Connections: Nurturing Your Network

Once you've overcome the initial challenge of networking and established connections, the journey doesn't end there. Following up and maintaining those connections is equally important. After a networking event or conversation, send a personalized message to express your gratitude for the interaction. Mention a key point from your conversation to demonstrate that you were attentive.


Networking isn't just about collecting contacts; it's about building meaningful relationships that can help you grow professionally and personally.


With the support of Ship2Shore Employ, you have access to resources, guidance, and a community of like-minded individuals ready to help you navigate the world of networking.


Remember, your next big opportunity could be just a conversation away. Start building your network today with Ship2Shore Employ and open the door to a world of possibilities.

 

Want to learn more? Consider watching our informative webinar on the subject. Best of luck to you! Please keep in mind that we stand by to assist both our crew and the cruise industry, so don't hesitate to reach out for any assistance you require. Also, if you haven't yet applied with us, you won't receive updates about upcoming job postings. Take a moment to provide your details – who knows what exciting opportunities could be in store for your next venture!




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