Marketing yourself through networking can seem like a daunting and boring task, but creating a fantastic networking strategy can be easy and even fun. Networking begins with meeting others and building relationships. By doing this, you can find out how to help others and how they might help you in your industry. This is a great way to find job opportunities and further your career. More than anything else, relationships are the foundation for successful networking and there are a few tips to help you create a great career.
You Don’t Need to Be Extroverted to Network
Networking and marketing yourself may seem scary for those who are introverted. When people think of networking, they think of large group settings and constantly putting yourself out there. This is not always the case. A good networking strategy means having a plan and following through! This means building relationships so that you and others become more comfortable and familiar. By becoming more comfortable with people in your industry, you create contacts that will help your career in the future.
Not All Networking is the Same
Find a networking strategy that works best for you. Marketing yourself might work best for you through getting a coffee with a colleague or someone you want to build a relationship with. This could be a small group setting or something as large and fun as a work barbeque. If a smaller setting works better for you, do it! It is also good to note that you can network in your everyday life. This could be at a basketball game, the park, or a public event. Using average opportunities to create new business relationships is a great way to grow outside your general work group.
Bring A Friend to Help You
Sometimes big settings are necessary, and this doesn’t need to be scary. It is a great idea to bring someone along who you are comfortable with. This could help you do better in a larger setting knowing someone is there for you. When you are in a situation like this, feel free to set goals for yourself for the day. How many people do you want to talk to? Are you going to go in and talk to the first five people you see? How do you want to start any conversations? Setting goals like this can help you create a successful networking strategy that could be beneficial for the future.
To help with large and small gatherings, it is good to have conversation starters for any place you might go. Asking people about themselves is always helpful. Learn where they work, what they do, and how they like to spend their time. Maybe learn about their hobbies or their aspirations for the future. Letting the other person speak and showing you are a good listener will improve that relationship. Market yourself, but never boast about yourself and try to sound humble while showing off your skills. Be genuine and sincere.
Ask for a Meeting
The great thing about marketing yourself through a networking strategy is how many amazing people you can meet. Begin your networking by interacting with people through those you already know. Ask colleagues and friends to help you set up a meeting with someone who is more successful in your industry. Bring your resume along to the meeting and ask for advice. Never ask for a job outright but ask them how you can improve your resume or see if they have suggestions for finding a job. Through marketing yourself correctly, they can see what your skills are and what you are experienced with. They can then recommend you to someone they know or even offer you a job in the future.
Keep it Short
During a networking opportunity, never take up too much of their time. It is never good to bore the person you are trying to impress. Find a subject they might be interested in during the meeting and show them how you worked well in your industry. Tell them what obstacles you had to overcome and what you did to make the project successful. Do not drag this out but make it exciting while keeping it short.
Branch Out to Market Yourself
Marketing yourself through a networking strategy works best with branching out as well as staying inside the box. Not all the time, but every once in a while, choose something to involve yourself in that you would not normally do. This is a great way to network with people who have different interests than you. While it is always important to network with those in your industry, it is good to branch out into other fields. Job opportunities can come from the strangest places as well as the more expected.
Patience in Networking
Finally, for those who are nervous about networking, think of it in the long term. Successful networking can take years to flourish into something exciting and helpful. Results do not always come quickly, so enjoy the time you have to learn about others and build relationships. Make time to network and try to avoid excuses not to go places or do things with others. It can pay off in the long run if you go to those business dinners or work barbeques even if you would rather do something else. Remember your end goals and do things outside your comfort zone.
Help Each Other
A networking strategy is also built on helping others while they help you. By showing others that you are interested in their field, and through building a relationship with them, you can create a great network. Show that you are persistent in getting to know someone, in following your goals, and being open to learning. A great way to show interest is by helping others before they help you. It is always important to listen. While you listen to others, see if there are ways for you to help them in the future. This might be through sharing books that were beneficial to your career or give them advice on job opportunities. Whatever form it might come in, a good networking strategy comes through showing others that you care. When you reach out to others first, they may feel more comfortable with helping you in the future.
Ask For Advice
During networking meetings, it is helpful to ask for ideas on how to expand your network. Ask the person what groups to get involved with or other people you can meet. Expanding your network to others in your industry can help you for many reasons. When you expand your group with people who are more successful, this helps in your current career. Feel free to bounce ideas off others who have already been in your shoes. They can help you strengthen ideas and warn you of mistakes that could potentially hurt your career. Many of them are willing to give advice that could change your life.
Keep the Relationship Going
Finally, find a reason to contact each person again. Whether this be through an email that gives them advice or asks for another meeting, this shows you care. A good networking strategy means contacting people a few times a year to remind them that they are important to you and your network. Through all this, remember to say thank you. Letting others know you are grateful for their time is always appreciated. A tip that helps show that gratitude is by remembering details about the person so you can bring it up in a later meeting. Ask them about their family or a trip that they mentioned going on. Personal touches always mean a lot.
Create Goals for Yourself in Marketing Yourself
Another important point of a network strategy is to be clear on your goals. Know what you hope to achieve when you go into a meeting or participate in a convention. Be honest and direct with people about what you want for your future. This can help colleagues help you. By knowing what you want, you can improve your conversations and give them direction.
Use Goals to Push You
Goals can come in the form of life goals and career aspirations, but they can also come in the form of networking goals. A good networking strategy is to have goals for each event you attend. Have a goal for a follow up. During the meeting, find something to use when you contact the person again. Be honest with yourself about what you can realistically accomplish and go get it done.
Social Media Networking
As social media gains popularity, it becomes increasingly important to network online. This is a plus because there are more avenues to meet people and build relationships. While face to face interactions is always important, emails and social media are helpful too. The most popular sites right now for business relationships are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Allow for Conversation
These are great for creating content for connections. Try not to create content that boasts on your skills only and comes across as prideful. Make content that provides great quality that might help your followers. A way to help others online and show your ability is by allowing a conversation to happen. Open up your posts to comments and keep the dialogue going. Always keep your profiles up to date. If you are not going to keep it up, the profile will look dry, and others may be hesitant to reach out to you.
Keep it Professional
Through everything, keep it professional. Make sure your profile picture is appropriate and your posts are on topic. Employers review your profiles to see if they are interested in reaching out to you. Make sure you have a great summary on your LinkedIn profile and other media for marketing yourself clearly. The same goes when you are creating a network. If you show maturity and humility when showing off your skills, that will impress others and keep people coming back.
Learning how to market yourself through networking does require work. It takes patience and time, but it is worth it. Job opportunities often come through good networking. If you get stuck in your progress, it is a great comfort to know there are people who can help. Find ways to help others in order to build those relationships. Always ask for advice and find new ways to learn. Create goals for yourself and make time for networking. Social media could be a great tool if you use it properly. Begin by learning more about social media and how you can create the best content to show off who you really are.
- Why is networking important to your success?
- How do I start networking?
- How do I strengthen my network?
- How can I use social media wisely in networking?
- How do I network virtually?