How can you improve your networking skills, quickly?
I tell my friends and colleagues all the time: Networking is key!! Who You Know can get you in the door (or at least in the interview seat) but What You Know keeps you there. Who knows you is just as important! When you come highly recommended, all you need to do is ace that interview!! Here are some quick tips on networking. I have been extremely successful through applying these techniques.
- Actually care! When I say care, it means to be genuinely interested in that person. When you are connecting with someone, find a common interest that may not necessarily be work related. If it is work related, that’s great too! For example, if you are both in the field of education, find out if they enjoy teaching the same grade level as you. Are you from the same hometown? Did you attend the same university? Find a common interest.
- Think about what you can do for them! We often network thinking what can this person do for me. It is true, that is a legitimate concern. However, I approach it as what can I do for this person. How can I assist them? For example, I may realize a colleague is struggling with formulas in an excel sheet. We connect because I assisted them in finishing a critical assignment. They now will speak highly of me to others (potential job leads/promotions/etc) because I assisted them without necessarily looking for anything in return.
- Network with people outside of your field! I think we often think that you must network with people in your actual field. This is not always true. For example, a makeup artist could network, connect, with a YouTube vlogger who enjoys makeup. That YouTube vlogger may have a friend who is a makeup artist. If the friend is ever looking to try makeup, he/she may just recommend you! Networking is a fine art. It’s not always the repetitive exchange of business cards. You want them to want to follow-up with you. Make a great first impression. I have more tips but these are just a few to get you started. Happy Networking!!