Overcome Job Search Anxiety: Tips for Networking In Person
If you’re having job search anxiety, you’re not alone. According to Career Builder, 73% of job seekers say searching for a new job is one of the most stressful things in life. For many, I believe, the most stressful part of the job hunt is networking. Networking online and networking in person are vital pieces of a person’s job search strategy, especially in today’s hyperconnected world. However, face-to-face networking can be especially difficult. Talking to people, in some cases complete strangers, is intimidating. On top of that, it’s time-consuming, so you want to make sure any networking you do is effective to make use of your precious time.
How to Overcome the Intimidation Challenge
When it comes to the intimidation factor, I recommend three practices to overcome your job search anxiety when networking in person.
1. Take Your Time
The more authentic you are when connecting with others, the more they will feel connected to you and want to help you down the road. So if you walk into a room and don’t know anyone, don’t feel like you have to strike up a “productive job search conversation” right away. Take your time, get your bearings and let conversations flow naturally.
2. Bring a Friend to Combat Job Search Anxiety
There is no rule saying you have to go to networking events alone. To put yourself at ease and feel more comfortable, bring a friend! You can piggy-back off each other’s success, help introduce one another and cheer each other on when preparing to talk to potential decision makers.
3. Connect with Another Attendee
If you cannot find a friend to go to networking events with, why not connect with another attendee who is also solo? Similar to a friend, this person can help reduce your stress and make helpful introductions. Just remember to do the same for them!
How to Overcome the Time-Consuming Challenge
1. Do Your Research
If you only have time for a few networking events, do your research to ensure the ones you attend will be the most beneficial for you. Join and participate in professional associations, community/volunteer events or job search groups within your industry. Ideally, the groups and events you are active in should be authentic to you. Being active in these groups means you are inevitably going to meet people with similar passions who could potentially refer you to their contacts or new opportunities within your career field.
Challenge yourself at each networking event you attend. You could give yourself a goal of talking to four new people or receiving two new business cards of people who can support your job search. Setting goals will help ensure these events are beneficial and time well spent.
Whether it’s online or in-person networking, the most important thing is that you do it, and you do it regularly. To not have networking as a key part of your job search strategy would mean missing out on the majority of new career opportunities.
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