Networking has always been viewed as a dirty word. People who network are often seen as slimy, desperate, and pushy – but it doesn’t have to be that way! The right approach can make networking a valuable tool that helps you advance your career. In fact, some people even like the idea of networking. This is because it gives them an opportunity to meet new people and share their ideas with others. They also don’t have to sell themselves (too much). If you’re ready to embrace this concept with open arms and an open mind, read on:
Make a list of everyone you know and everyone you want to know.
- Make a list of everyone you know, and everyone you want to know. This is the most basic tool for networking success. You should keep it updated as new people enter your life, or as existing relationships evolve.
- Include contact details for each person in your list: email addresses, phone numbers, social media handles (if applicable). If someone only has a LinkedIn profile or Facebook page but not an email address, add their LinkedIn handle/ Facebook URL instead of just their name – you never know when someone might have recently switched over from Twitter to Instagram!
- Take notes in both physical form (on paper) and digital form (on your phone). You can use either a note-taking app or a spreadsheet program like Google Sheets. Both options allow easy sorting based on different criteria (i.e. company size or industry sector).
Be prepared to make a great first impression.
- Be friendly and approachable
- Be polite, respectful, and well-mannered
- Dress appropriately and be clean-cut
- Remember to make eye contact, smile, use good posture and have a firm handshake when meeting someone for the first time. Keep your hands out of your pockets!
- Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Listen to your conversation partner as much as possible (this will help feel important too).
Dress for success.
Dress for success.
You have built your brand, made connections and have the tools to approach anyone in any room. Now it’s time to put on a few of your favorite clothes, grab your briefcase, and go make some money! But not just any old clothes; dress for the job you want instead of the one you have. Remember: when in doubt, err on the side of business casual or business formal. You don’t want to be underdressed when trying to stand out among professionals.
It’s important to consider what type of industry you’re entering and dress accordingly. A typical office environment will expect some variation on traditional business attire (suit/slacks/blouse.) But, a creative agency might have more leeway. Know what level of formality is expected at events where networking will take place. If you are unsure ask someone who works there (or look up past events). If they tell you it’s going to be black-tie optional, then feel free to wear blue jeans and a T-shirt!
Be ready to make conversation, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. But remember that the other person is there for a reason and you should also be ready for them to ask questions of you. It’s a good rule of thumb to have at least five questions prepared in case you are put on the spot. You should also be ready with some answers about yourself. This way, if someone asks about your background or work experience, it will not come as a surprise. The key here is balance: don’t interrogate them, but don’t let them off easy either!
Here are some sample questions:
- What do you like most about your job?
- What challenges would I face working here?
- What do your colleagues say about working here?
Be genuine and ask good questions.
The number one thing to remember as a self-marketing machine is that you should never, ever lie. If someone asks how old you are and you’re 26, don’t say 27. If someone asks what your favorite movie is and it’s not “Gladiator,” don’t pretend it is.
You must be honest about who you are and what makes you great. Then find ways of connecting those qualities with the people around you so they see how awesome they can be with your help or products! The quickest way to kill any potential relationship is by being insincere or dishonest. Be sure to keep that in mind as we proceed through this article on making friends and selling yourself (a tricky combination!)
Keep it short, sweet, and to the point (and don’t forget to follow up).
Be concise. You want to keep it short and sweet – and don’t forget to be yourself. Don’t try too hard to sell yourself or over-exaggerate your accomplishments. People can almost always tell when you’re lying or being phony. In the end, you want your pitch to sound like it came from an actual person who’s as excited about what they do as they are!
Don’t be afraid of asking questions and making connections with other people in the industry (or even outside). The most successful networking events actually encourage attendees to mingle and socialize. After all, one of the best ways to get noticed is by being more than just a face in the crowd! If someone else seems interested in talking about something that interests *you*, ask them about it! It’s perfectly okay if you’re not familiar with everyone else’s fields yet; however, there’s no harm in getting some knowledge on topics that relate directly with yours – especially since this will also help determine whether certain opportunities would be worth pursuing in future career paths.
Don’t sell yourself short!
If you’re going to network and sell yourself, you must believe that your skills and talents are worth something. And if you don’t believe that right now, then today is the day to start believing!
You have something special to offer the world – something that will help others and make them happy. You may not know exactly where it is or how big it is yet, but when someone asks you what it is, they’ll be amazed by what they hear. It’s up to you whether you want them to be surprised at how great of an asset they’ve found for themselves.
Networking can be a great way to grow your career, but you have to be willing to approach others, maintain a positive attitude and not take rejection personally.
Networking is a great way to grow your career. It’s how we all get jobs, after all. But it can also be one of the most stressful activities in your life. This is especially true if you are an introvert or have trouble putting yourself out there. Here are some helpful tips:
- Approach other people with confidence and enthusiasm – not arrogance or desperation. It’s important that you’re able to speak up for yourself and ask questions without fearing rejection or embarrassment. If someone doesn’t want to talk with you, don’t take it personally – they aren’t interested right now (or ever) and that is okay! This can happen many times until you find someone who wants what you’re offering.
- Don’t let rejection get the best of you! Just because someone doesn’t want something from you doesn’t mean anything bad about either of you. Everyone has different needs and wants.
When you network, remember that it’s not all about you. You don’t want to get caught up in your own needs and goals. Instead, focus on making a connection with the other person. Ask questions and listen for a chance to share what your passionate about in return. This way they will feel like they are getting something out of it too!