When you edit and write advice for job seekers, you quickly come to learn the importance of networking—all the experts say that it's a crucial aspect of not only a modern job search but also career development.
Network or perish, they say. Even I say it in a recent HotJobs article, "How to Turn a Stranger into a Network Contact."
I have to be honest—this is a case of "do as I say, not as I do": I'm not a great networker. Shyness is my primary problem. And shyness is a killer (in my case, it often gets read as stuck-up-ed-ness, I hear).
Personal improvement becomes easier when you set small realistic goals for yourself, so I'm going to do that for myself. I'm setting three networking "challenges":
1. I will attend the next professional networking event I can, and I will introduce myself to at least three new people. I'm a member of several professional groups that have social events I don't attend (there's that shyness again).
2. I will update my blog at least once a week, and I will link to it from my online social profiles.
3. Right now, I will do something helpful for a LinkedIn contact I rarely speak to.
Do you have trouble networking? What realistic challenges can you set for yourself?