5 unusual ways to network that are brilliant

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Networking is the name of the game for job-hunters.  About 44% of all work opportunities arise from networking.

Yet, as we’ve written about in the past,  most job-hunters say they dislike networking and are terrible at it.

Typically, many think networking is high-pressure, with high stakes. Their idea is that you have to figure out how to connect with someone, interest them, and  impress them.  And it all must happen in just few minutes, before the person’s attention begins to wander.  No wonder why those people would rather have root canal surgery.

But networking is not an audition of any kind.  It’s not about convincing anyone of anything, it’s about connecting.

We know, we’re networkers too. The Bagg Group grew from a small family business into a thriving five-division enterprise that works with the best companies in the GTA.  We didn’t get the clients we have without putting ourselves out there.

Get to know people, don’t pitch them

Our recruiters love going to events, and meeting people, not to pitch them, but just to get to know them.  All you need to be successful as a networker is a genuine curiosity, a true interest, in others.  That’s how connections are made.

See The Bagg Group 10 secrets to nail networking.

Networking can happen in all kinds of places

We tell all our job candidates to try and “get out there” and expand their circle.  The more people you know, the more people may know of something opening up.

But again, the idea isn’t to make every contact and every activity about your job search.  Instead, it’s about looking to share common interests and experiences with others.  Allow yourself to just enjoy.  it’s important as a job-hunter to do things that lift your spirit because employers want people who are positive and upbeat.  And, if along the way, it turns out someone knows someone who is hiring … that’s a bonus!

Some of our favourite ways to network –so easy, you won’t even know you’re doing it.

www.waitlist.tech  This app makes the point that trains and planes are great places to connect. It was created to make waiting for a flight an opportunity to turn strangers into contacts. Passengers publish their virtual business cards, complete with interests and skills, so travelers can identify what the designers call “valuable conversation partners” and be guided to an airport café to meet in person.

Hobby-based networking.  If you don’t have a hobby, now is definitely the time to look for one. Whether it’s cake decorating, choirs, knitting cafes, language, cooking or theatre classes, indoor gardening, or bee-keeping — regularly meeting with people who share a common interest is fantastic for making contacts.  Also consider meet-ups in your area of interest.

Bonus: Interviewers enjoy hearing about hobbies – they show initiative and engagement.

Committees: For some, the mention of ‘committee’ sends shivers down their spine. Don’t be misled by the heavy-handed sounding word, or it’s association with ‘commitment.”

Committees are bonding, as people around the table strategize together for a common goal.   Many neighborhood community centres, local arts and crafts events, charitable organizations, and schools welcome new committee members.

Bonus:  Committees are a great addition to a resume, and a way to flex some skills while meeting new people.

Sports and unusual activities: The gym is great, but busy gyms don’t always foster much chat beyond, ‘Are you getting off that machine soon?’ So a more specialized group activity may be your ticket to exercise and meet new people.

Hiking meet-ups, salsa classes, indoor rock climbing. or more out-of-the-box activities like dragon boat indoor paddling, medieval martial arts, bubble soccer (yes, you slide into a giant plastic bubble) will certainly inspire conversation.  And of course, Toronto boasts a school of circus arts – because while looking for a job, why not fantasize about running away to a  circus.

Bonus: You’ll never be at a loss for interesting small talk at any networking event if you can tell about an out-of-the-box experience you recently tried.

Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer:  A chance to give back, learn, and meet people –the question isn’t whether you should volunteer, but why wouldn’t you?  Volunteer Toronto is a good place to start.

At The Bagg Group, we are hugely committed to volunteer work and our staff is involved in about 100 different initiatives between us all.

Bonus: Volunteer work is valuable for your resume.

Recruiters at Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing Solutions guarantee you can easily excel at networking when you lead with interest in others and other things.

And while you are checking out possibilities, check for full-time, temporary and contract positions now available on our job board.

Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach and writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group

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