I’m sorry, but you do. That is, unless you plan to retire and/or die at the job you are currently at now, you need to get out and network. Ideally, by yourself. Why? Your network is your net worth. Not my words, definitely from someone smarter than me. But it’s so true. You need to get your ass out of the house, away from your job (which you probably don’t like anyways), pass up happy hour and find a networking event near you and go.
If you’ve never gone to a networking event before — go alone. It’s nerve-racking as hell, but that’s part of the point. To get out of your comfort zone. You now — alone — have to muster up the courage to introduce yourself and carry a conversation. Sounds easy, because it is. It’s easier than you think. There’s nothing about networking that’s actually hard, to be quite honest, but the focus of networking is to make connections. Meet people that you can connect with after the event. No, not like at a bar, but for lunch sometime in the near future. Key phrase: ‘near future’. Anyone you happened to exchange information with, email that very night when you get home. NO EXCEPTIONS. Don’t wait two weeks or more to reconnect. They won’t remember who the hell were and then what was the point?! In your email, let them know it was a pleasure to meet them at whatever the name of the event was. And that you would like to meet up whenever they have the time. HOWEVER, make sure to list when you’re available (evening nights, weekends, Saturday mornings, etc) so that when they respond they have an idea when you’re free and you’re both not playing email tag trying to figure when to meet only to finally meet and forget who each other were. So dumb.
During — I’m sure you’ve heard this one before — talk less about you, and ask more of them. Get to know as much as you can about this person or these people to know if (1) are they worth making a connection with and (2) is there anything of value you can offer them that would make them interested in keeping in touch with you. I’m gonna be honest — some people aren’t really worth your time and it’s okay to be honest with yourself about that. You don’t want to spend your time where (or with who) it’s not serving you. And of course, you always want to try to be a benefit to someone else. That is the quickest and easiest way for someone to remember you. Don’t think about how they can help you, but rather how you can them. You want to be that go-to- person that people think of when they need/want something.
But you gotta get out there and network. What if all you want is better paying job? Fine. Studies have shown that most people are recruited through their network. HELLO! If all you want is another job, you still gotta network. Or should I say, you should be networking if want more than just a job.