Networking – which simply means connecting with people and cultivating mutually beneficial relationships – is something you should be doing throughout your career. The people in your network can give you professional advice or insight into new roles or industries, or link you with contacts at an employer you want to work for.
Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned veteran in your field, here are some tips to continually grow and nurture your network.
Always be network ready.
You may be actively job hunting or perfectly content right where you are. Regardless, you should always be ready to impress when networking opportunities arise – and you never know when or where that may be. In addition to the more obvious forums like conferences, workshops and professional association events, you may stumble across a networking opportunity in your neighborhood, at your church, your children’s school, the gym … or virtually anywhere you interact with others.
- Do your research. If you are considering a job change and have a particular company in mind, learn as much as you can about your desired employer. This will help you ask better questions, garner more in-depth information about the person, the work environment, and the organization, and truly show your interest.
- Stay up to date in your field. Keeping abreast of the latest trends in your industry can help you add value, which is key to building your networking relationships. The more value you add, the more likely you are to leave lasting impressions on the right individuals.
- Be prepared to give your pitch. Craft a 30 to 60-second “elevator pitch” that you can use on the spot to communicate your strengths, goals, and what you bring to the table.
Ask questions and listen actively.
When you network, don’t be afraid to start a conversation. Ask open-ended questions that facilitate conversation. People want to know that you have heard what they have to say.
- Be ready and willing to help first. Networking is a two-way street. The more you help others, the more likely they are to help you. This also helps cement and deepen relationships.
Optimize your online presence.
Maintain active profiles, not only on LinkedIn, but also on other platforms that offer great ways to gain information and contacts.
- Clean up your digital image. Employers, as well as current and potential members of your network, will check your social media sites to learn more about you. Wipe out any content, images or videos that portray you in less than a wholesome, professional manner. It’s also a good idea to do a Google search on yourself and see what results are generated.
Growing your professional network is a key step in your successful job search. As you do so, make it a point to connect with our network at PrideStaff Northern Kentucky. Finding the right job is easier than you think. Let us be your trusted career partner. Reach out to us today for more information.