Networking can be a successful component of your career. In fact you are more likely to be hired from an employee referral so investing in time to build a professional network can pay off now or 10 years down the line. How do you get these coveted employee referrals? Here are steps on how to build your network.
Join associations that align with your career objectives. Attend regular meetings, introduce yourself, and participate. People get to know you in different ways and get to be comfortable recommending you and think they will enjoy working around you.
Examine LinkedIn profiles and see what groups managers and others are joined in. Test trial before joining these professional associations or going to their events. It is time consuming and you don’t want to waste time running around and not making connections or even enjoying where you are going to. You don’t want to feel like you are in a stuffy business setting but in a pleasant atmosphere. Go to events that you feel will get you the best business network connections. Also go with your gut instinct.
Volunteer and give first
Volunteer with an organization and meet new people and expand your professional network. Find a nonprofit or other organization that you will enjoy and truly believe in.
Utilize your alumni networks
People like to hire their alumni if given a choice. Utilize college resources, attend events, and go to bars and sporting events where alumni are having get togethers on teams’ sporting events.
Develop and practice your elevator pitch
You may feel that you don’t have the time to develop a network due to work, personal like, the kids, and a host of other things but you do have the time. Find shared interests with others like fitness, hobbies, meetups, and networking events. This can lead to new paths and gateways of opportunity.
You never know who you will meet
Utilize family affairs such as events at church or schools and sporting events to develop opportunities. Meet your family’s friends and colleagues.
Through family, friends, neighbors, associations, and alumni you can generate leads for jobs. Let people know you are looking for a job. You can take a direct or indirect approach or a formal or informal approach. It depends on the situation and what you sense is the best way to go for each contact. Utilize the phone and contact everyone you know. Use conversation starters, go on job forums, use LinkedIn, and focus on career networking. Get a business card and put yourself out there. Find email networking templates and personalize it. You want a job you can be happy with and not tolerable. You don’t want to waste years of your life going to work and being drained all day because you feel this job is a dead end with your life being wasted.
Start making your connection with a relationship and not a resume. Spark a conversation, focus on the relationship, and be genuine. Get to know the person and make it all about them and if you end up liking the person than you can ask for an opportunity.
The next best thing to an interview offer is to get a referral to the hiring manager.