Tips for Building a Network
When most people hear the word “networking,” images of boring mixers with name tags and off-brand sodas usually come to mind. Professional networks can be helpful and building them can be fun, if you do it right. Read on for some tips for how to build a better, more successful network.
Many professions have local, national and international organizations that allow people in similar fields to meet and network. There are organizations for doctors, entrepreneurs, journalists, teachers, designers, engineers, professors, lawyers and just about any profession you can think of. There are also organizations for women, young professionals, African Americans and most demographics. The organizations you join don’t have to be strictly professional, either. Alumni groups, volunteer organizations and recreational activities are all great ways to meet people with similar interests. You never know who can help you in your job search!
Yes, building a network still involved networking events. The big thing to remember is that they don’t have to be boring. Events put on by professional organizations bring together like-minded people with similar careers, so you won’t be at a loss for a conversation topic. Alumni events are a great way to meet people who went to your high school or college and reminisce about great times. Recreational activities should be fun for you, regardless of whether they land you a job! In order to build a network, you have to get out there and actually meet and connect with other people.
Meeting people means nothing if you say goodbye at the end of a luncheon and never speak to them again. Make sure to carry business or calling cards with you and collect new acquaintances’ cards, as well. After a day or two, send your new contacts an email to let them know how great it was to meet them, and make a plan to catch up in the future.