We write and share various networking tips on this blog all the time, and there are so many different ways you can successfully network depending on your individual situation. What I would like to share at this point is more of a condensed, checklist format of tips to remember when networking.
First some tips on establishing new people into your networking circle:
- Seek to create long-term quality relationships and stay in touch; don’t seek to just accumulate a large quantity of contacts you call when in need
- Be truly interested in the needs of others in your network, and not just your own; seek to help them before seeking their help
- Listen twice as much as you talk
- Be generous in sharing your resources and ideas
- Be yourself
- Remember to expand outside of what you would consider your normal zone; you never know who knows who out there
Once you begin actually calling on your network connections:
- Start with your “warm” contacts first before reaching outside of your immediate connections
- Be sure you have and keep updated your online social media presence; but watch the amount of time you spend on them; do not rely on them as your main source
- Listen twice as much as you talk (again)
- Again, seek to help others at the same time that you are seeking help
- Do not keep score when it comes to who helped whom more; seek to share and assist others without expecting anything in return
- Follow up and stay in contact, offer assistance, even when you are not in need
Remember, networking is something you can do all the time. Just in casual conversation with people every day, you may find ways you can help others and they could possibly help you. You may not think your cousin’s career is in any way related to yours, but you may not realize he has a close friend who is in your field and could help you. You may just be having a casual conversation with the receptionist at the doctor’s office – and come to find out her husband is someone who could assist you in your field of expertise.
It is important to remember that your networking can expand beyond just the professional contacts that first come to your mind when you think of job searching. Be open to letting others know your needs, and it may just lead to one of those so-and-so knew so-and-so situations that leads to you getting a foot in the door.
"Image from deamstime.com"