The way we network has changed completely since the dawn of instant messaging, social media and video conferences. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of it.
Why is networking important?
What it all comes down to is that it’s not simply who you know, but who knows you!
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, you should never write off the potential opportunity that comes with networking. Circumstances rarely stay the same when it comes to work. Having a good network of professionals that you have a solid relationship with can present great opportunities down the line.
Networks are also a great way to stay in the loop within your industry, and they can provide opportunity to learn and grow.
So, how do you grow a meaningful professional network? CA Financial Appointments shares some tips.
Put others first
Avoid being ‘me, me, me’. Yes, you’re networking for the potential opportunities that may come from it, but there has to be give and take. You have to be someone who is worth networking with, so that means that sometimes you may simply help someone with no obvious potential takeaway from it for yourself. Your reward for this act of professional kindness will be the contribution to your reputation within your network for being someone who helps others.
These days, there is no excuse for not being able to be found. This doesn’t mean that you have to open every social media platform you’re on to the public, but it does mean you need to be mindful of how you can be contacted. It’s a good idea to do a search on yourself to see exactly how accessible you are. It’s also a good idea to do this to ensure that your social media is presenting you as you’d want it to.
Perfect your personal brand
Ensure that everywhere you have a presence on the web is as you want it to be. This is a huge part of ensuring that someone you may have met briefly will want to become part of your network. Scour your social media and make sure that anything you wouldn’t want people to see is deleted. Don’t rely on the privacy settings as these change frequently. Remember that people make quick judgements on a mere name search, these days.
Consider meeting in the ‘real world’.
Yes, you read that right – consider actually physically meeting with the people you want to network with. This may be at organised networking events, or simply a coffee date you arrange with someone in your network. Though the online world makes networking easier and quicker, you simply cannot beat the connection that comes with meeting in person. So if you can, give it a try.
Networking can open up doors and avenues you might not have otherwise found or even considered. So build and nurture a solid professional network and see what it does for you!