If you want to successful career, you shouldn’t avoid networking (even though just thinking about it makes many people tremble in fear). Like it or not, networking is essential to your career growth.
You can learn about new jobs from networking, giving you a great advantage in your job search.
Here are some tips on how to network effectively:
1. Review your contacts.
Did you know that you have a network already? All you need is a few hours to get started. Review your contacts from different networks. This includes your friends, family, school, work, sports, or even just a small group you like to hang out with. Don’t forget to look at all the online places where you have contacts, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and other networking platforms.
2. Plan your strategy.
Now that you have a contact list, take time to make notes on every person and their current profession, or how they may be of help to you in the future. Don’t forget to also think about how you can lend a helping hand in case they contact you. Networking is not all about getting help from your network. You should be willing to extend help to them, too, as you build your careers together.
3. Keep in touch.
After going through your list and notes, you’ll know who to reach out to first as you reconnect. Give them a call, or just send a text or email. Keeping in touch will keep them updated on what’s going on with you and vice versa as you nurture your relationship.
4. Have a clear message. Once you have spoken to them, think about how the people in your network might be able to help you. You can take action by drafting an email stating how things are going, or you can even request something like an introduction to someone in particular. Keep your messages brief. Make sure you express how much you value their advice when they make suggestions that could advance your career.
Networking is all about being genuine. If you’re true to yourself, your message will resonate. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you if you need help tailoring your messages to your contacts.