How to Network the Right Way
You’ve probably heard the adage, “It’s not what you know; it’s you know.” While your education, skills, and work experience are important when job hunting and building professional connections, knowing the right people is often more valuable. Here are five tips for successful networking:
1. Look for Referrals from People You Already Know
Ask family members, friends, and former colleagues if they know anyone in the industry or company you’re looking to get into. This is an easy way to enter new social circles, as you don’t have to expend much effort when reaching out to people you already know.
2. Use Social Media
Social media is no longer just an entertainment tool. It’s become a networking tool as well. Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can get you into contact with people you’d never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. The best way to introduce yourself is by commenting on desired contacts’ posts or “connecting” on LinkedIn, a professional networking site. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, check out my blog post “The Importance of LinkedIn” for tips on creating one.
3. Find Networking Events or Conferences to Attend
As America continues to reopen, in-person networking events and conferences are coming back. You can use tools like Eventbrite, Facebook Events, and LinkedIn Groups to find local and global events you may like to attend. You can also reach out to professors, coworkers, mentors, and other connections who attend events to find out what’s going in your industry.
4. Be Prepared Ahead of Time for Conversations
Plan out ahead of time what you want potential connections to know about you. Ask yourself what makes you valuable, what skills you possess, and what work experience or education might stand out to someone. One great way to do this is through an elevator pitch, a mini-speech detailing who you are and what you do. Elevator pitches should be as short as possible while still containing all necessary information.
5. Make Sure Your Exchanges Are Mutually Beneficial
Often networkers are so eager to advance their career they become selfish, doing all the talking during conversations and forgetting to ask how they can help their potential connection. Networking should include reciprocity. If you’re asking for a favor like a resume review or introduction, make sure you offer one back. If you talk for five minutes, give your communication partner a chance to speak for the same amount of time.
Final Thoughts on Networking
Networking is a great way to meet new people and advance your career. You can get better at networking by following easy tips like creating a LinkedIn profile and looking for referrals from people you already know.
If you’d like to build your social network, book a call with career expert Robert Braathe today! Robert can help you polish your resume, enhance your LinkedIn profile, and much more.