Networking is an important career-building skill but some find it easier than others. If you’re an introvert and are changing careers or just starting out, here are some tips to give you more confidence:
#1 You are probably already networking
Networking is the fancy name we give to purposefully getting to know people and letting them get to know us. However, it’s not just about striking up conversations with strangers at industry events.
You are probably already building a network of contacts through your work, hobbies, social groups or studies. You can develop this network by taking the time to understand the career goals of these connections and sharing your own career objectives.
Meet for a coffee or get together somewhere – this can lead to new connections that may be more valuable in the future, than collecting random business cards.
#2 You don’t need to be the life of the party
An underappreciated networking skill is the ability to listen. When you meet someone new, be an engaged listener, show that you respect what the other person is saying and ask interesting questions. By making your conversation partner feel valued, you are giving yourself the best chance of making a memorable connection.
#3 Earn good networking karma
Not confident singing your own praises? Try working on your elevator pitch but also look for ways to help other people connect. Perhaps you turned down a job that your roommate would be perfect for? Or maybe you have a volunteer opportunity to share? A solid network relies on quality connections and by helping others, they may do the same for you.
#4 Network at home
Online networking is a great way to make new contacts without getting all dressed up and making small talk. Use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to create a professional online profile, then start connecting with your existing network and reaching out to people and companies relevant to your industry.
Keep your network active by commenting on, liking or sharing articles and adding your own posts.