I am excited to have a guest blog post this week from HR professional Amanda Haddaway. Amanda is going to share “The Top 5 Tips for Networking with HR Professionals.”
It may seem a little scary trying to break into the inner HR circle, but it’s really quite easy if you follow these simple networking tips.
Have a goal
If you plan to attend a networking event for one hour, try to make at least three solid contacts. The conversation is not always going to be stellar with every person you meet. If the person is not involved in human resources, ask if you could be put in touch with someone in that department. If that’s not an option, know when to say “it was nice meeting you” and move on. If you become glued to the first person you started talking to, the event won’t be as successful for you as it could be.
Some networking events will publish a list of companies who are attending prior to the actual event. If this information is available, do your homework to identify which companies are of most interest to you.
Enjoy the experience
Networking events may put you out of your normal comfort zone, but they can be very beneficial. By attending solo, you’re forced to meet new people. You never know who’s going to be there. Ask questions of the people you meet to find out more information about what they do and how they entered the HR field.
Don’t let those business cards collect dust – act on them!
It’s easy to go to a networking event and put the business cards in your pocket or purse and never look at them again. However, this defeats the whole purpose of attending the event in the first place. You must act on making the most of your new connections and do so within 24 hours of attending the event.
If you procrastinate, you run the risk of your new connection forgetting who you are. Your new contacts will also be impressed you took the time to reach out to them so soon after your introduction. If you plan to connect via LinkedIn, don’t use the boring form message. Instead, type in a few sentences about the networking event you just attended and a snippet from your conversation. People have an easier time remembering your meeting if you remind them where you met and what you talked about.
Show your value to new contacts
People are more likely to want to connect with you if they think there’s something advantageous to them in making a connection with you. It’s the classic case of “what’s in it for me.” Therefore, it’s probably best to build a relationship with your new connection rather than straight out asking the person for a job right away.
Perhaps you discussed a shared interest or some other timely topic. Share additional information with your new contact by sending a link to an article you recently read about that topic.
Plan for your next networking event
Networking is not a one-time occurrence. You should try to constantly expand your network and improve upon your networking skills. The more you practice networking, the better you will become with this skill.
Take a few minutes to reflect on what you could have done better at your last networking event and improve upon those items before your next event. Make a personal goal to attend at least one networking event per month. Reorder business cards to ensure you have plenty for your next event.
About the author:
Amanda Haddaway is a recognized career expert and leader in the human resources field. She has been quoted in numerous national publications for her HR expertise and is the author of Destination Real World: Success after Graduation and Interviewer Success: Become a great interviewer in less than one hour.
Please share this article with your network if you find it helpful.