Career coach explains how to network with purpose

By Jenna Durney, UC San Diego Graduate Student

In a job market where 70% of all jobs are found through networking, one phone call, one introduction, or one meeting can change everything, according to Camille Primm, award-winning author and Career Coach at UC San Diego Extenion’s Life/Work Center.

As a networking maven, Primm challenges professionals to change their negative perceptions about networking and consider it, instead, as a positive experience towards creating and nurturing relationships. “Networking requires uncovering a common interest, building a sense of community, and engaging in authentic conversations,” said Primm. She emphasizes that it is better to develop strong relationships with 20 people than superficial ones with 200.

Primm breaks down the networking process into a few simple steps: Relationship-building begins with conversation. To engage in and hold a conversation, she encourages people to open up with “small talk” topics (such as weather, sports, nice hand bag, etc.) and study up on current events. While small talk can help kindle a fire, she emphasizes that networking is more about listening to what people say than saying the right things. In conjunction with conversing, she recommends using active listening skills such as:

  • Making eye contact

  • Nodding

  • Smiling

  • Affirming

  • Asking questions

On March 26th, Primm facilitated an interactive networking workshop for attendees of UC San Diego Extension’s Career Week. She reviewed essential networking skills, and then put those new skills into practice by simulating a networking environment. She reminded attendees to use these keys to effective networking:

  1. Define who you are and why you are here (i.e. your brand)

  2. Give before you get

  3. Connect with people with whom you share interests and values

  4. Don’t ever keep score

career-week.jpg 
Camille Primm explains, "networking requires uncovering a common interest, building a sense of community, and engaging in authentic conversations.”

Primm challenged attendees to take action by following up with the contacts they made that night. Other methods of taking action to broaden one’s network include volunteering, attending professional association meetings, or taking a class.

By applying these same skills to your own networking practice, you can move your connections from one-time meetings to long-lasting relationships. Primm recommends starting small and working to deepen relationships by taking small steps such as emailing someone an article that they might find interesting or a making a short 5-minute phone call.

Camille Primm is a UC San Diego Extension career coach, who also facilitates quarterly career clinics. Designed for professionals based on career stage, the clinics are free, quarterly offerings open to the public.

Sign up for a free Career Clinic, April 21-24, 2014:

  • Career Clinic for Early Career Professionals

  • Career Clinic for Mid-Career Professionals

  • Career Clinic for Professionals in Transition

  • Career Clinic for Encore Generation

 

Posted: 4/11/2014 12:00:00 AM by UC San Diego Extension: Business | with 0 comments


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