Guide to networking and maintaining your connections
There’s no question that networking is important in advancing your career. Not only do most positions require a list of professional references but also, according to Business Insider, at least 70 percent of jobs are never listed. Instead, these positions are filled via personal contacts and referrals.
So, there’s really no option to “opt out” of networking in advancing your career. Here, we’ll offer our most reliable tips for building and maintaining these important professional contacts.
Make sincere connections in your office
We might unintentionally make insincere connections at the office that rely on superficial chit-chat and no real feeling. Instead, develop real relationships by following expert networker Mike Steib’s advice.
First, stop talking so much about yourself. Ask your co-workers questions about themselves instead. Next, go deeper in your conversations. Sometimes, we don’t have meaningful conversations with our co-workers because we fear we’ll look incompetent. But if we don’t, our relationships may not become deep enough to actually help one another out.
Join professional organizations or attend conferences
It’s important to make connections with others outside of your immediate colleagues. Expand your network by joining professionals organizations – both ones that meet to face to face and online. Or, you could attend a conference in the field and city where you want to work. Then, you can use the tips above to build significant relationships. Getting others to recognize your name is half the battle.
Build your connections with regular check-ins
Even the strongest relationships can languish without regular check-ins. It’s easy to drop into your contacts’ social media – Facebook or LinkedIn – and write a brief note congratulating them for their promotion or their new baby. Depending on your relationship, you could also text them to check in. The key here is reminding your contacts you care about them.
Help your contacts
When you don’t need anything from your contact at the moment, still do what you can to help them, as well. Even if they’re a more-experienced professional than you, for instance, there are still lots of ways that you can benefit them. For instance, if you discover that their son or daughter is looking for a summer internship after college, you could let them know your company offers this sort of program. After all, building a network doesn’t mean creating a one-way street.
Show your gratitude
If one of your contacts does help you, make sure they know you appreciate them. Depending on what they’ve done for you, you could share a kudos to them on social media, write them a card, or take them out to dinner. Let them know you don’t just value them for where they can get you professionally, either, so they don’t end up feeling used.
Building a network takes time and effort. Contact us to discuss your next Career Move.