At any stage in your career, one of the best ways to achieve long-term success is by thoughtfully and consistently networking. Here are four steps to take to network intelligently:
1. Be clear on your brand.
Know what you’re looking for, what makes you unique, and the skills that make you an asset. Participate in a genuine and honest promotion and advertising strategy on social media that represents your personal brand. The key is to showcase your ability, knowledge, and achievements.
2. Do your research.
Create a list of companies you’d like to work for or connect with, and start searching online for anyone you know who works at the company. Look at your already established network to see if an introduction can be made. If you don’t have an inside connection, determine who would be the best person to reach out to based on your role.
3. Make contact.
Whether the person is a close contact, distant connection, or someone you don’t know, reach out to see if they are available for a quick call. It shouldn’t just be a one-way street. Keep in mind with services you can offer. You should start building your network by helping others without requiring anything in return. Networking needs to be organic and mutual from both parties involved.
4. Establish a connection.
Be personable and establish a rapport with your contact. Qualifications are important, but companies also want to work with people they like. And it makes a huge difference when a referral is shared from someone internally. It’s important to build and create a tribe of professionals to lean on and learn from throughout your career. If you start methodically and continually seeking out quality people to connect with, you’ll see your network dramatically increase, and your career will benefit from the efforts you make.