In today’s digital age, practically everyone is already hooked up on the Internet. This technology is something that can become a worthwhile investment to your career. One reason is because it is a powerful tool for networking.
What is Professional Networking?
When someone talks about networks and networking, the thing that comes to mind are those complex structures that connect several computer to each other.
That is just one kind of network. What we are going to be focusing here today is professional networking. That is, the connections you make with other business professionals.
Networking per se is easy. All you have to do is to log into a social media network and connect with other members or attends one of those networking events. But if you’re planning to use this to increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams, you need to do more than that. You need to make sure that you stand out in a positive way whilst you’re networking with other business professionals.
So how can you have the fruits of your networking efforts? Here are some tips that you can do to stand out and distinguish yourself through networking.
Go out and meet new people
This is the tried and tested way to build your professional network. There are several networking events happening at any given time, many are posted in sites like MeetUp.com. Choose one that’s happening within your area and sign up to attend. Don’t forget to bring your business cards and dress for the occasion.
Invest time networking on the net
The Internet has completely revolutionised the way that we do things, including building a formidable professional network. If you’re an introvert and the whole idea of attending networking events to build a formidable professional network petrifies you, this is a great tool for you to use.
Of course, it’s important to carefully choose which social media networks to use for your online networking efforts. Facebook may be great to connect with family and friends. However, if you want to build your professional network online, LinkedIn is the way to go.
Create a good first impression
Another thing that can help you to distinguish yourself through networking is to come early. This way, the organisers can make a distinction between you from everyone else, and better recognise you later.
After the event, give some of your time to stay and help them clean up. That way, you’re giving them a good sign that you are someone they can count on, thus earning a plus on your network. When you do things like this one, make it a point that you will not look like trying hard in creating a network relationship with them. You should make an impression of being faithful to your actions.
You should keep your focus on the people you meet, ask them open-ended questions relevant to keep them talking about themselves. Be attentive to the details that you are discussing. You can have an exchange of insights and ideas that is significant to the industry you’re both in. From this, you can determine whether you have something in common that can contribute to each other’s network. If the person you have met is a possible member of your network, request for their business card if appropriate. And make sure that you only pull out your card if asked.
Follow up with your new contacts
Make a follow-up contact with everyone you met the day after the event. You can send them individual email messages that can remind them of who you are and what you have discussed. You can thank them for spending some of their time with you. You may also ask them if they can connect with you on LinkedIn or on a networking site specific to your industry. If you were able to determine who is aligned with your career aspirations while you’re on the event, you could target them for further discussions over a cup of tea or coffee. You can also try to invite them for lunch. It is up to you where you think you can find most likely to have a quality conversation with them.
If you were able to establish a good relationship with the people you’ve met, you are more likely to be the first one that they will call rather than others. To keep this network, you should have a continuous contact with them regardless how busy your schedule may be. And if possible, you should try to see them once in a while to have a more bonded relationship.
Be active in your networking efforts
You can post some articles that you’ve written, especially those on topics related to your line of work. Provide relevant and well-written comments on your contacts’ activities. Actively participate in the groups you’ve joined, especially on topics about your industry. All of these are excellent ways when networking professionally.
Job searching requires a lot of time and effort. That can be harder if you have limited resources within your industry, particularly when it comes to your professional network. The wider range of connections you have, the more you’ll be able to come across potentially lucrative business and career opportunities.
By networking throughout your career, you create a stronger position when the time comes that you aim for a higher position or change of career. Hence, you can also be additional to the network of others as well as a part of their success too.
Networking has a lot to do not only with your job search but as a significant component in your career development. When you have built this the right way, this can be a good source for your professional advancement when the time comes. So if you have plans of having an improved career, start investing some of your time in networking. You can’t make a quality network in just one night. It is easier to produce a good and reliable network when you have been doing this for quite a long time. And when you would already need it, your network is just very ready like an army that can face all tests that can be encountered.