Being on top of your networking game is essential to making professional connections in the working world. At first, networking might feel awkward or unnatural, but everything gets easier (and better) with practice! At Staffers, we know that networking is one of the many ways to snag your dream career or go from a temporary position to a permanent one! Meeting people in your field is a great way to make connections and gain some insights into your career path. We have some helpful tips for creating a networking strategy that can help you advance your career path.
How to start a conversation:
One of the most difficult things about networking is knowing how to start the initial conversation, especially if you are introducing yourself to someone new. One of the best ways to start a conversation is by simply saying, ‘Hello!’ and offering a firm handshake. If you’re at a conference or networking type of event, one of the best ways to start a conversation is by making a comment about the event itself: you can talk about anything from how much you admired the keynote speaker to the delicious brunch. From there, you can ask questions about their line of work. If the person in question is someone you admire, ask her advice! People love to be asked for advice. You’ll find that it gets easier and easier to approach new people.
How to make networking work for you:
So, you’ve done all this networking, but you’re not sure how it will help you advance. One way to help make your networking pay off is to continue to have direct contact with some of your closer professional connections. Kristen Carnes’ article, How to Make Your Network Work for You has some helpful tips: “Sure, it takes time and effort to spend 30 minutes on the phone or getting coffee, but the return is undeniably positive. For example, I recently ran into a former colleague at an airport, and after exchanging “Hello’s,” he exclaimed, “I was just talking about you!” This represents the fruits of personal connection. If you want to improve your brand and be considered excellent at networking, you have to do more than simply sit behind your laptop.” Keep in touch with your closest connections just to say ‘hello,’ and avoid reaching out to them only when you need something.
Social media and networking:
While networking usually involves face-to-face interactions, if you don’t have access to that type of networking, social media is not only a great alternative, but also necessary! While Facebook and Twitter are good mediums for keeping in touch with friends and family, they are not really professional social media outlets. For making professional connections, LinkedIn is your best bet. Take some time to make a marketable profile: include all your skills, select a professional looking photograph as your profile picture, and give a detailed work history. Then, start making those connections! Congratulate your connections on their successes, such as their work anniversaries and promotions! It’s the little things that count.
If you are looking for more networking tips, check out more posts from our blog. One of the leading staffing firms in Mississippi, Staffers offers temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct hire opportunities in the Jackson metro area! If you are someone you know is seeking employment, contact Staffers today at 601-362-1010 to join the Staffers team.