As an IT contractor, networking is one of the greatest tools in your toolbox. Network properly, and you can secure contracts that you want, not just those that allow you to get by. You’ll also be able to build up a client base and have a consistent stream of contracts so that you don’t go without work.
Here are some do’s and don’ts of professional networking for IT professionals:
- Be outgoing. No one’s going to sell yourself for you. That’s up to you — put yourself out there and talk to people, because it’s the only way that you’ll network successfully.
- Have business cards on you at all times. Business cards might seem old fashioned, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re a fantastic networking tool! Keeping a few on you at all times is a great practice because you just never know when a networking opportunity might come up.
- Follow up. Always follow up after meeting a potential contact, even if it’s just connecting on LinkedIn. This shows the connecting that your conversation meant something to you.
- Be patient. Networking takes time, and the benefits of it aren’t going to manifest themselves instantly. Be patient!
- Dominate the conversation. Networking is a two-way street. If you take up all the airspace talking, it’s not likely to result in any meaningful connection. Let the other person have their say so that the conversation is natural.
- Sell yourself short. Doubting yourself or appearing unsure of your capabilities won’t get you anywhere. Explain to the connection exactly what you can do and what the scope of your abilities are.
- Over-sell yourself. Don’t exaggerate your abilities, either, because then you’ll be in hot water if something comes from the connection. It’s all about an appropriate balance.
- Avoid asking questions. Ask the people you’re networking with what they’re looking for, what their specialties are, whether or not they’re open to contracting, etc. These kind of conversations are what networking is all about!
If you would like to brush up on your networking and interviewing skills, we’re here for you. Contact OakTree Staffing right now to see how we can help.