It’s commonly said that: it’s not what you know, but who you know. This tells us just how important our personal contacts and professional networks are when it comes to success, especially in finding employment, getting business opportunities or simply paving the way for career advancement.
But what if you’re not an expert in networking? No problem. We’ve got you covered with our 6 fool-proof networking tips to turbocharge your career:
1. Establish a Credible Online Presence
Establishing a credible online presence is very important in today’s digital age where people connect and expand their network through personal social medial accounts like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
When building your online credibility, look at every aspect of your online profile and ask yourself how do you come across? Do your words show you’re a friendly and outgoing person? Does your profile and work history reflect a reliable and trustworthy employee? Everything goes towards making an impression so make sure that your personal or professional blog, LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts paint a positive picture of your personality.
Moreover, with hiring managers now using social media to find the right candidate for a position, having a considerable online following can only work to your advantage and give you that added boost when applying for a job.
One of the easiest ways to start making a buzz online is by actively participating in online forums or LinkedIn Groups within your industry. You can also make it a habit to share useful content about your line of work or comment and engage people in conversations about issues that affect your industry. By doing so, you slowly build your credibility and identity as one of the influencers and contributors within your field.
Just remember to update and optimise your social media profile and add a signature line with your name and contact details to your e-mails to make your personal brand memorable.
2. Reach Out to Others
Don’t just limit your network within people from your current company or previous workplace. Everyone is a potential connection so start getting to know people in your community.
You can do this by joining clubs, business organisations, or doing volunteer work. You can also participate in industry events and conferences. Or, better yet, why not host an event, seminar, or workshop instead of just participating in one? This would really help introduce new people into your circle and, if you do well, will even boost your credibility and authority in your chosen niche.
You can also enroll in a part-time course and network with peers for future opportunities.
3. Be a Listener, Not Just a Talker
When you’re networking, of course you need to talk to people and present your profile, but you also have to be a good listener. This is the only way you’ll know if the person you are talking to is actually the right person to connect with based on your career goals.
So how do you become a good listener? You just have to have a genuine interest in what the other person is saying and ask relevant questions about their stories and professional background. Most of all, be a good conversationalist by making sure you let people speak their opinions and as much as possible avoid cutting-off someone or putting words into their sentences.
4. Make a Follow-through and Stay in Touch
When you go to a networking event or meet new people in a party or in a casual meeting, don’t just get their business cards and put these away in your drawer where they may never see the light of day again.
Making a follow-through and staying in touch with your new contacts is really the essence of networking and the most effective way to building and maintaining a very strong network that will not only help you in your career but also give you a potential support group throughout your life.
The best way to be effective in follow-through and staying in touch is to send a simple thank you e-mail a few days after meeting your new contact. You can also remind them to visit your online profile, blog, or website or you can try to add them to your social media contacts.
A really useful and strong network is not only measured by the number of contacts you have, but also the quality of these contacts. For example, even if you know 100 people but most of them are within the same group, that doesn’t really help you expand your network at all.
Therefore, try to diversify as you build your network. This means make the effort to connect with people who are outside of your professional circle. Network with people from different professions, industries and different countries.
6. Pay It Forward
If you think networking is all about meeting the connections you need in order to get ahead in your career or business, then it’s time to have a shift in the way you look at people.
Look at networking as a pay to pay it forward—as an opportunity to build relationships and help others without expecting anything in return or keeping score.
The bottom line is, people would recommend others for a job or do business with companies that they like and trust. So, if you show that you are someone willing to share your knowledge and give whatever assistance or support you can, you will surely be top-of-mind among these people you have helped and you will eventually create a very solid personal and professional network that will be your support group through and through.All content is produced and published by IMPACT! Brand Communications.