Did some person you’ve never met try to connect with you on LinkedIn? For some, networking can sometimes be terrifying. For others, it may seem like pointless small talk. In today’s era of technology, expanding your network is important, and there are many ways to do so. Building your network can be your greatest asset to finding a new job or building your career. What can you do to build and nurture your network?
1. Rebrand your social presence
Your carefully crafted resume is just one side to knowing a person. Hiring managers are likely doing a quick google search on you. How do you represent yourself? First off, clean up your public Facebook profile but more so get involved in conversations within your field. There are many Facebook and LinkedIn groups and forums to join and ask questions. Make yourself known. You’d be surprised at the number of people willing to help you!
2. Show up!
If you’ve ever had to attend a conference or a job show event, you’ve likely made the rounds of the booths asking the same questions. Networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and some events may be harder to attend than others; but there are countless benefits! Dress well and show up. Don’t regurgitate the same questions. Prepare one or two questions that are a bit left field. Most importantly, once you’re in a conversation, relax and try to make a genuine connection to the person you’re talking to. It’s okay to veer off into your passions and hobbies. And before you finish, ask if it’s okay to connect with them on LinkedIn. You want to leave a positive lasting impression.
3. Diversify your network
Treat everyone with the openness to learn more about them. Different generations have had wildly different life experiences. Striking up a conversation with someone of a different profession/generation/culture may reveal they might have something of value to share. They could become a great addition to your professional network.
4. Follow up.
Nurture and maintain your relationships and keep in touch on a regular basis. You can do more than just send a direct message or email- comment on an article or status they shared.
Remember, networking itself displays confidence, which employers like. Be curious and friendly, and don’t assume that just because someone isn’t a potential employer, that he or she isn’t worth including in your network. You never know who that person might know.