Stuck in a dead-end job with no foreseeable prospects? LOSER. Well, tangibly you are if you’re not fine-tuning your sucking-up strategies and preparing to network the bejesus out of every possible past employer, ex-colleague and friend of a friend’s cousin who works in your industry.
And it’s all well and good polishing up that LinkedIn profile, saturating Facebook with paltry attempts at engaging job-hate sympathy and flitting a few business cards around at your Friday night blowout. Epic fail.
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to do a little networking. But how does one go about this very adult concept without looking like a total lamester?
Get your hand off it
Basically, be genuine. Don’t bore people with sales pitches and sob stories, and when out and about at networking events (they’re horrid, but helpful), try to build relationships based on win-win strategies.
Mutual ‘let’s help each other, help each other’ tactics can work wonders. We’re all innately narcissistic beasts after all.
Bye-bye business card
In these days of technological fervour, nobody carries around a wallet-full of badly designed business cards (unless they’re for pro-personal-action, of course). LinkedIn’s the way to go.
With over 433 million members, that’s a whole lot of possible new BFFs for you to track down. Although, if you’re link-smashing with virtual strangers just for the sake of it, you’re just being a greedy nob.
New friends? Meh
Sometimes your best new connections can be old connections.
Former business associates you’ve worked well with (remember that karaoke-fuelled conference in Bali where you man-bonded?) might have a tip-off for a new job opportunity, or a past uni lecturer may be persuaded to cough up some contacts over a free coffee. Work it baby.
Increase your ball size
If you’re a shy little flower, this is a toughy, but attempting to talk to random strangers can increase confidence levels. You’ll gradually get used to the mortification of stilted conversation.
The key is to be uber-perky. Try and instigate communication and act like you are insanely interested in what they’ve got to say. If all else fails, fake it til you make it.
Talk sense FFS
In a networking scenario (and it could be a social event, ie. a friend’s wedding or a night at the footy with a client), creating non-anal small talk is challenging. Best tactic? Find out what interests them and flog the topic like a maniac.
Open-ended questions are also gold, particularly anything to do with Eurovision, their dog breed selection or who’ll win this year’s Grand Final.
Pay it forward
Sounds totally nonsensicle, but that win-win strategy may mean you’re going to have to put out as well. Nothing’s free or easy these days, man.
But if you do offer to help, be cluey about it. A simple email connecting like-minded peeps can be enough. And if you hit the jackpot with a possible job prospect yourself, suffer a sudden case of verbal diarrhoea and love the shit out of the contact that gave it to you.