Networking 101: 7 Ways to Grow Your Professional Career
Knowing different members in the business community can help you establish meaningful connections that can lead to incredible opportunities. Beyond career benefits, networking can help you boost your confidence, improve your communication skills, market yourself and your skillset, and learn new things.
- Establish meaningful connections. Being genuine in the conversations you have with people at a networking event will set you apart. Don’t think of conversations as transactional. Try to have fun and enjoy your time, don’t be too hyper-focused on your networking goals. Be personable.
- Be positive and professional. Make others want to start a conversation with you. This might seem obvious, but avoid making any type of negative comments about the event itself or in general. This comes across as unprofessional and makes you seem unapproachable. Take it seriously.
- Actively listen. This will not only help you remember people’s names and information but will aid in your overall connection with others. People like being heard, it makes them feel important. It’ll also help you engage in more genuine conversations.
- Be authentic. There’s nothing worse than a fake persona that people can see right through. Being your most genuine self will resonate with people and build better quality connections. You can do this by asking questions, finding common interests, and making suggestions or recommendations.
- Follow up. Did you promise someone you would connect with them on Linkedin? Do it. What about sending over that article you discussed earlier via email? Do it. Remembering these small details will create a lasting impression with your new professional connections and cast you in a positive light.
- Advocate for others. Connecting the people you meet with opportunities that seem aligned for their skillset is a great way to contribute to the whole networking process. Try your best to provide value to the new people you meet by facilitating introductions, sharing some advice, offering helpful feedback, or actively seeking ways you can assist them in their own career search. You’ll feel great knowing that you have helped someone out, and when an opportunity for them to return the favor comes up, it’s highly likely that they will follow through.
- Enjoy yourself! Not every single networking event is going to lead to a plethora of job offers, new LinkedIn connections, or future coffee plans. Do your best to have fun, have good conversations, and make the most out of it in whatever way you can. Having a positive attitude will only help you build your credibility and integrity.
At Career Start, we understand that attending networking events can sometimes be stressful or confusing. Follow these tips to help improve your overall experience and connect with others in your future career field.
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