Networking is one of the most necessary ways to propel your career, yet it can often be a tough thing to master. With a few—five to be exact—changes to your mindset, you’ll be well on your way to your dream job in no time. And always remember, confidence is key.
1. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE:
Think of networking like a muscle, not an inherent trait. It’s something that must be exercised and grown over time. No one wakes up one day and is a master networker. Get your feet wet by asking your current boss out to coffee and gaining insight on her career path. You have to start somewhere–and once you do, you’ll be more comfortable during the next go ‘round.
2. DON’T JUMP THE GUN:
One of the main reasons people hate networking is because of how forced it feels. Getting to know someone for my sheer benefit? Never would I ever. However, if you think about it, we do it in all aspects of life. By shifting your thinking from “what can I get?” to making a genuine connection, you allow the relationship to build naturally over time. People can sense a disingenuous demeanor from a mile away. Be sure to let your relationship progress and allow traits like character and work ethic to show through.
3. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS:
Once you’ve established some rapport with the person you’re seeking career advice from, send them a quick email asking them to meet over a cup of coffee. If you’re currently work with them, ask to grab a quick bite during lunch to gain better insight on their career path and how they got there. Be honest and explicit about what you would like to accomplish in your career. Don’t forget to take notes, too.
4. SINCERE FLATTERY:
Paying a genuine compliment to someone as you network could score you some serious points in their memory bank. Always be real and never say something you don’t actually mean.
5. KEEP THE CONNECTION:
“There’s fortune in the follow up.” A mantra we wholeheartedly live behind. Where most people give up after the initial meeting, the true connection begins months down the road when you extend a kind email. Never feel too shy to say hello, and always remember to keep connections alive. You never know, they might refer you as a candidate later on down the road.