What many of us do not realize about networking is that it is not necessarily about getting a job, it’s also about establishing a community to guide you on your career path, provide feedback, and ultimately help you grow as a professional. Here are some ways to implement this valuable tool.
- Explore making contacts outside of your company. Join career-oriented groups and attend career-related events to find professionals who share your interests. Networking can be fun rather than a chore.
- Remember this is a two way street. You aren’t just asking a stranger for help, you are building a relationship. Consider both what you need from them and ways you can help them in return.
- Be courteous with your contacts – friendly and brief. Be conscious of your contacts’ time, and if you have a meeting with them, make sure to pay any expenses like coffee or a meal. Thank you notes are a must.
- Stay in contact. Keep the communication going by touching base occasionally to tell them of your progress, congratulate them on their progress, and perhaps even invite them to get together again.