Networking and Changing Your Mindset

Published by Matt Mason,

Networking and Changing Your Mindset

Networking can play an essential role in finding a new position.  But it can also be one of the most intimidating aspects of a search.

The idea of networking is enough to fill many of us with dread or, at the very least, make us feel uncomfortable or even phoney and fake – especially if you’ve been out of the game for a bit.

With this post, Christine Houston Adams, Head of People & Culture at Stopgap, explores how a change in mindset can turn networking into a powerful tool when searching for a new role.  

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Stopgap is a specialist creative, digital and marketing recruitment agency for permanent and freelance jobs.

Networking and the not-so-new rules

Like it or not, we need each other.  Our careers and businesses thrive through connections from networking; it’s a crucial part of business and personal development!  Life inside and outside of work is about interacting and connecting.

I recently attended an event which spoke to the new rules of networking.  But I don’t think it’s about new rules at all. It’s more about shifting our thinking regarding networking and the roles it can play in a new job search.

How to make networking feel more authentic

It’s all about a shift in perspectives.  Often it can bring about opportunities or, at the very least, bring positivity into a situation.  So here are some strategies I have learnt to help change my mindset and make networking more authentic and less daunting.

1.  See it as a moment of discovery

Focus on seeing networking as an opportunity for discovery and learning rather than a chore or something intimidating.

2.  Look for areas of common interest

Do a bit of homework around the opportunity.  

–  Who’s there?
– What are they up to?  
– What are their interests? 

Then Identify the common interests.  It will feel more authentic and meaningful, more likely to lead to deeper, more constructive relationships.

3.  Think about what you bring

Think broadly about what you can give instead of only what you have to gain.  When you believe you have a lot to offer others, such as wise advice, mentorship, access or resources, networking feels easier and less one way.

4.  Find a higher purpose

A higher purpose will help you feel more authentic.  Let’s face it.  Any work activity becomes more attractive when linked to a higher goal, so frame networking in those terms.  

For example, I support my colleagues if I am networking for business development purposes rather than myself, to ultimately increase business value that will help the whole business. So this frees me up to take action and embrace new connections for the higher goal.

Seize the moment, and start networking with your new perspective and increasing confidence!  You know you CAN do it!  After all, you never know the places where it might lead you!

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Stopgap:  In it together to help you succeed

Stopgap specialises in digital, marketing, agency and creative recruitment. And they have been placing great people in great marketing roles since 1993.

Christing and a get in touch for more about Networking
Feature photo credit: Sanet Van Rooyen

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