Networking 101

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Professional know that networking is a crucial element in building a long and successful career. Networking affords an excellent opportunity for advancement, putting a name and skill set strongly in the mind of a potential recruiter or hirer.

Below are some top tips to broaden your professional network:

Use Social Media to your advantage

Tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to meet and stay in touch with interesting and influential people in your field, regardless of distance. Establishing online relationships with people both withing and outside of your organsiation. Update your LinkedIn profile and make sure that it is as much a representation of your professionalism as your resume and cover letter. Many recruiters and employers rely on LinkedIn to find quality candidates for upcoming opportunities with their organsiation.

Join Relevant Organisations & Societies

Professional organizations are an excellent resource for building your network. Look into joining a professional society or organization relevant to your field to help connect with people who share your interests. Being around other people who share your profession, interests, or skills can help put introverts at ease. Do a little research to see what societies are most relevant to you.

Volunteer Your Time

Not for profit organisations everywhere are looking for additional hands that are willing to volunteer their expertise. If you’re stuck in the “can’t get a job without experience, but can’t get experience without a job” phase, consider volunteering the skills you learned in college. Choose your non-profits carefully as having the well-known and respected ones in your portfolio can help open doors for you. Do a great job for these non-profits, and your managers will probably be happy to connect you with their network.

Ask for Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are opportunities to learn more about your industry from successful people who are already working in your target sector. You won’t be interviewed for a job – you’ll be interviewing others on what it takes to get their type of job, and what that job looks like from the inside. Have the long term in mind and build meaningful relationships with your contacts through periodic phone calls, Zoom or in person catch ups.

Get a Career Mentor

Career mentors can help guide which types of jobs you should take to get to where you want to go. If you network authentically, chances are you’ll end up finding career mentors who’ll be happy to guide you and introduce you to their networks.

 

Do your homework before you reach out

When asking for favors – you have to value the person’s time. Before you start reaching out to your network – do your homework:

Have an updated CV – if possible you should craft your CV to reflect the job/industry you’re inquiring about.

Do your research on the company and indutry – know enough to help carry a conversation and prepare questions to help lead that conversation when the time comes. At the very least, you’ll use that research to help prepare that first email.

Know your career story: Why are you interested in the job/company/connection you’re asking about? They’re going to want to know why you’re interested. Have a well throughout and meaningful answer prepared.

Networking

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