How to be a Leader in the Game of Networking and Relationship Building
When it comes to job interviews, the most important thing you can do is reach a conclusion about what counts and how you present yourself. The beginning of any interview process should not be marked mainly by fear and stage fright. Due to the fact that a person actually gets called for an interview, and the feeling of being so close to getting the job, usually tends to overwhelms us. That feeling of uncertainty sure isn’t helpful, but it helps to know that it does go away, somewhere around the fourth time you sit in front of a potential employer whose job is to ask you some seemingly meaningless questions. Although some of those questions might not be related to the job, each of them had a point, meaningful enough to the person who is hiring. In addition, some other things that can get you to a job that you have always dreamt about or you merely need, must also be noted and mentioned.

1.    Connections and networking. When I first started looking for a job, basic destinations for first time job seekers, such as myself, were primarily internet ads and websites - places where employers search for potential employees and vice versa. This seemed like a perpetual struggle of sending CVs and receiving no answers, which eventually lead to me physically visiting local companies and possible employers. I do have to mention something important here, however, and that is the art of networking which can get you to your first job interview, sometimes with less effort.
Mingling, meeting, chatting, networking and connecting, can be proven to work much better than simply applying for a job add. Seeing as it can be easier and more successful, it is sometimes considered to be a short cut to the interview.

The secret lies within the human nature and it consists of the hirers needing to see and hear the candidate, face to face. Simultaneously, they will ask around in need of references or recommendations. Even if your CV is flawless, the person who had better and more trustworthy references, even if he had less experience, is most likely to get the job.

2.    Be in your best light. The ideal appearance for an interview - everything contrary to pessimism and fright. You want to show that you can lighten up the room without making the business meeting seem ridiculous and unprofessional. The key is to be confident and unique, while staying confident and responsible for your words and actions.

Your social skills and body language should speak on your behalf, just as much as the words that come out of your mouth. Neat looks, politeness and the correct choice of words that go around, along with pushiness and even discussion-hogging, can mean the difference between success and failure.

3.    Volunteering.  My current position requires me to go through the delivered CVs in order to hand-pick and recommend the best candidates who will be called for an interview. Majority of CVs and cover letters that I have read, consist of the same materials; although this is to be expected, do to the template form that was required to be filled out, the experience that the candidates possessed also seemed to be more alike than I imagined them to be. One, highly useful piece of  advice that I can give you, is for you to present yourself differently, uniquely, by pointing out what you enjoyed while conducting the work you’ve done in the past. It may sound difficult, but it will allow the employer to know what kind of an employee they are hiring; it will be the proof that you are resourceful, willing and able to work for them.

Do not forget, employers like volunteers and people devoted to non-profit causes (like this one), not because they want free labour, but because they want people who are considerate, reliable, committed and willing to help.

4.    Building relationships is equally important to getting a job, keeping it and making the job into a success story. If you think that you do not have worthy relationships, you’re probably wrong. You’ve started building your relationships since before elementary school. This process continues through secondary school, college/universities, and it will maintain its course for the rest of your life. The types of people that you hold in your trusted circle impact the way you think and the way you conduct your professional endeavours, as well.

Strangely or not, this is where we all start in building our careers-never from a scratch, but with who you have around you. Current relationships, that you are a part of, will get you to the doorstep of new connections which, if used wisely, can be a huge resource for proper networking.

Both relationships and networking can be either virtual, or face-to-face. General preference, with most people that I have met, is that they prefer face-to-face, physical networking over virtual connections. The reason behind this is that physical relationships tend to allow for more trust between different parties.

5.    Maintaining relationships. As social beings, it is highly important for people to maintain their relationships and their status within them; to cherish them and treat them as if you’re looking for guidance and advice, not a job.

Learn to be appropriately humoristic, tentative to others, interested in their piece of mind and experiences. This will provide you with useful knowledge and experience, and it will immediately place you on a higher level when you end up going to your first job interview.

Image credit: Pixabay

Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who loves sharing her insights on the latest business opportunities. I also enjoy discovering leading social media campaigns and helping my local community through charities. Follow me on Twitter - @MaryAnnKeeling

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