Networking is an important tool, which not only can assist you in finding a job – and perhaps the one after that – it also can help you become a better communicator, gain confidence and build relationships. But networking isn’t all about you. Networking is about being genuine, building trust and relationships and learning how you can help others.
What does good networking look like? It’s all about making connections and conversations – as many as possible. The goal of these conversations is to have an open dialogue with others to develop future professional and personal contacts.
Networking is a learned skill, built over time. It just takes commitment and practice. Follow these 10 tips to help take the work out of networking.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and include a professional photo, job experience, education details, volunteer work, awards, recognitions and other notable information.
- Develop and practice your elevator speech so you can succinctly describe yourself and your strengths to others for conversations and job/internship opportunities.
- Carry plenty of business cards to make it easy for you to exchange contact information.
- Arrive on time, turn off your phone and have conversation starters in mind.
- Attend networking events relevant to your profession, industry and interests. This will make your time and efforts worthwhile as well as your ability to effectively help others.
- Greet people with a firm handshake and eye contact. This sets the tone for a good first impression.
- Maintain good posture. Your body language speaks volumes. Stand tall, shoulders back and maintain eye contact.
- Engage in conversation. Listen. Converse. Spend about 10 to 15 minutes with him/her and then move along to network with others.
- Every good conversation starts with good listening. Show a high level of interest in the conversation. Be attentive and curious.
- Follow up with a hand-written thank you note to those who offered support or advice. This simple gesture is an essential component of the networking process and shows interest and appreciation to the people who spent time talking to you.
Contact Polished today to learn how you can become a better communicator and an effective networker. The most valuable investment you can make is an investment in yourself. There is no other investment that creates a greater return.