Did you know that nearly 80% of people found their next big move and meaningful career success by networking? If you’re reentering the workplace or working in a new town, networking is one of the best ways to further your career and be a part of your community. Whether you’re hoping to find your dream job or maintain a healthy social and professional lifestyle, networking is the name of the game. Here, we’ll share five tips for networking in person, virtually, and everything in between.
It’s essential to have networking strategies that align with your objectives. Networking is essential, as building connections with the right people at the right time can take your career to the next level.
Essentially, networking involves exchanging information and ideas between people in a meaningful way. However, networking can be as simple as meeting new people who share similar interests or goals as you.
For many busy professionals, work events are the best ways to network efficiently. Additionally, you can connect with people through LinkedIn or regularly email your connections to maintain an online relationship.
While it can be overwhelming, start with these five tips for networking to jump-start your job search, grow your professional network, or start networking in a new town.
1. Consider Your “Ask”
Everyone is different and has their own set of networking goals. Remember, it’s important to feel confident and comfortable with your networking method. Also, it’s important to consider: what are your short-term and long-term goals? And, ask yourself, “what do I have to offer?” While it may be tempting to outright ask for a job interview or favor, networking is about building trust and reciprocal relationships.
2. Leverage LinkedIn
Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, LinkedIn is focused on growing professional relationships. If you’re new to town, consider making connections with like professionals in your field of work. For instance, if you find someone you want to connect with on LinkedIn, be sure to let them know about shared or mutual work experience. This can include an interest in their profession or services that could be mutually beneficial. But, beware of spamming shared contacts. Make LinkedIn connections intentionally, rather than for personal gain.
First, ensure your LinkedIn profile is complete; this can help attract clients, new relationships, and even recruiters. Translate your value to others and include measurable results. Consider using keywords in your summary, as well as a simple tagline that explains what you do.
If you don’t yet have endorsements for your skills, consider utilizing LinkedIn Learning or taking the LinkedIn skill assessment to earn a certified badge for a specific skill displayed on your profile.
Perhaps one of the most important tips for networking is to create genuine relationships. It’s important not to collect LinkedIn connections for the sake of having more connections. Try reaching out to one person weekly, monthly, or whatever works. Then, connect in real life over coffee or lunch. Creating quality connections is more important than the arbitrary number of connections on your LinkedIn profile.
3. Offer to Help
When improving your networking skills, remember that this is not one-sided. Always look for ways to support your network, even if they don’t directly benefit you. Not every networking situation has to be quid pro quo—offer to help without expectation. When you selflessly offer to help, it often organically returns in your favor. Become a trustworthy connection that people can rely on for career advice. Remember, this is the power of community.
4. Be Consistent
Knowing how to effectively network is not about building Rome in a day—it’s about consistency. To achieve this, you may need to step out of your comfort zone to connect with people. Then, foster the connections you’ve made. Reach out regularly, make introductions on their behalf, and be willing to help without an ulterior motive.
Even though networking is about making professional connections that can boost your career, it’s not uncommon for them to become friends—especially in smaller communities. However, some connections may become future clients or be the catalyst to new jobs and projects. Therefore, it’s important to be consistent by staying in touch and offering your help, as well.
5. Master Your Elevator Pitch
Your elevator pitch is a quick synopsis that quickly and efficiently explains what you do. This is meant to be short and sweet—think 15 seconds at the maximum.
Your pitch should portray who you are, what you do, and the problems you solve. If you execute this effectively, you can introduce yourself to business connections in a compelling way and become a trusted connection yourself. You can also use an elevator pitch in your LinkedIn summary or social media bio.
This is a great way to gain confidence by introducing yourself to people boldly to let them know what you bring to the table. Then you can master your elevator pitch and practice it personally at networking mixers and networking events to nail the delivery.
We get it—it’s easier said than done. Networking can be as simple as small talk with people in your social network, or as big as speaking at events for professional organizations. If you’ve recently moved to a new city, consider joining community events to better build relationships.
Networking in Bend, Oregon
Whether you’re new to Bend or just new to networking, Central Oregon has several organizations and events that can help build your network. Job seekers can attend Bend Chamber events to swap business cards and start creating a list of people for your proverbial Rolodex.
However, remote workers can find community in our Bend, Oregon coworking space. While networking happens organically in our space for professionals, community events like Member’s Happy Hour can cultivate deeper relationships.
Central Oregon residents can take advantage of our trial memberships, which allow them to try out our space for one month before committing to a membership. Try The Haven for one month for just $149 and see if it’s right for you.
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The Haven Staff