Using the full arsenal of tools available to the modern job seeker, you’ve set full sail on your job search. Between perusing job boards, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, you’ve literally got another full-time job on your hands.  But is your online job search enough to land you your next dream job?  Where might you be missing the boat?

Referrals are arguably the number one source of new job placements. Sure, LinkedIn and other social networks provide an excellent link to valuable referral sources, but don’t overlook an even more engaged approach – good old-fashioned networking. Intimidating? Perhaps for the more timid among us.  We know that everyone can’t work the room like the infamous sales guy, so here are a few networking tips for the introverts among us:

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Do your homework. When attending an event, find out who else is planning to attend. Whether it is a backyard barbeque or professional gathering, you can most likely find attendees online. Events are often posted on Facebook, LinkedIn or any other source which link directly to attendee information. Research several targets and take note of commonalities or potential conversation starters. Look into recent press on their company or industry and woo your new contacts with your informed perspective.

Set a goal. Decide on how many people you are going to talk to at the event and stick with it. Don’t wait until everyone is leaving to try to meet your objective. Procrastination is not as forgiving when it comes to a personal connection. Keep your eye on the clock and try your best to imitate a social butterfly as you move around social groups at the event.

Use extroverts to your advantage. Most people enjoy talking about themselves. Be the person who genuinely listens and wants to learn more about their new contacts.

Follow up. Once you’ve made it this far, it would be a shame let your hard work fall by the wayside. Make sure you exchange information with your new contacts and use it. Be the one to make the first call and invite someone to chat over lunch or coffee.

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Networking creates anxiety in those of us that are not used to stepping out of our comfort zone. Using a few simple tricks, being bashful does not have to hold you back from your dream job. That isn’t to say you will connect with everyone you meet. If you get rejected, move on to the next person. In the wise words of Chris Dixon, CEO of Hunch, “If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough.” Given what networking has to offer, it isn’t worth letting your introversion stop you. Take action and meet professionals to help finish your job search and land at the dock of your dream bay.

Happy Hunting!

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