It’s no secret that networking is one of the best ways to advance your career. According to one study from LinkedIn, 85% of jobs are filled through networking. But we get it – when your calendar is already overbooked with meetings, appointments, and family obligations (or you can’t imagine telling one more person “about yourself” after that last round of interviews), attending that lunch-and-learn is probably the last thing you want to do. But there’s a reason why networking always comes up in career discussions: it works! Connecting with other professionals can open the door to new business opportunities, generate ideas, and bring in new business.
Don’t give up on networking just yet, because we’re here to help. These tried-and-true networking tips will help you make critical connections faster (and make the process much less groan-inducing).
Make It About Them, Not You
If you’re attending a professional event while looking for your next job, you’re probably hoping to meet someone who can help you get your foot in the door. There’s nothing wrong with scouting opportunities, but one of the reasons that networking is so daunting is that it can feel contrived and opportunistic. Instead of putting all the emphasis on what other people can do for you, think about what you could do for other people. Potential employers are looking for candidates who will add value to their organizations, so if you meet someone at an event or through a mutual friend, be the first to offer your connections or expertise.
Reconnect with Old Contacts
If making new connections seems overwhelming, then reach out to an old friend or colleague. Calling up someone you already know is infinitely less intimidating – but you never know when an old coworker, client, or mutual friend could help you make a key connection. Start by compiling a list of people you “used to know” from your phone, Facebook, or LinkedIn contacts, then email one person a week with the goal of reconnecting in person (or at least over the phone).
Do Things You Genuinely Like
If you force yourself to go to a conference just because you think you “should,” then let’s be honest: you’ll be much more focused on getting out of there ASAP instead of going to the optional mixer afterwards. But signing up for a course, workshop, or retreat that actually interests you will do three things: first, it will introduce you to like-minded people who already share common ground. Second, you’ll probably feel more comfortable speaking up and shaking hands with strangers. And third, you’re more likely to be introduced to professional opportunities that relate to your area of interest.
From new grads to CEOs, Post Up Careers has helped professionals at all levels make critical connections, hone their personal brands, and advance their careers. Are you ready to be our next success story? Click here to learn more about our services.