Most of us recognize that networking is beneficial to our careers yet some of us don't really know how to begin networking.
Instead of relying on networking only when looking for a job, connecting with other professionals can help with every aspect of your career development. Don't just reach out to other professionals in times of crisis, invest in these relationships throughout the course of your career.
For starters, let's have a look at what you can achieve by just networking -
Strengthen business connections
Advance your career
Get more job opportunities
Get a different perspective
Get more visibility
Boost your self-esteem
As you can see, the benefits of networking are endless. Here is how to make the most of it -
Old school networking - Even in the present digital age, business cards are still thriving for a reason - it’s the single fastest and professional way to share who you are, what you do, and how you can be contacted. Have a few business cards always with you as you never know who you may run into.
Quality over quantity - Focusing on one meaningful connection is far more valuable than conversations that lead to nowhere. Identify people you naturally connect with, and those that are knowledgeable of your industry.
Use social media effectively - Use social media in an effective way by getting to know important contacts better and without the pressure of a face to face meeting. Start conversations, seek advice, and offer value.
Offer to help - Networking isn't meant to be one-sided. It should provide value for both parties at some point. Look for ways to help your network, and they'll readily want to help you in return.
Don't ask for an opportunity - Your main networking goal should be to build a relationship and establish rapport so when a potential opportunity may arise in the future, your contact may be willing to refer you.
Follow-up - Create reasons to keep your relationship going. Regularly reach out to your network with updates via phone, email, LinkedIn, and social.
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