Knowing how to network successfully is an important skill to learn early in your career, and one that could possibly help you land your dream job. As you begin networking with others, a good place to start practicing is with close friends. Foster and cultivate your friendships and eventually open your circle to include others in your profession or those who have the same interests as you. Eventually, and with some practice, you’ll be able to connect with a more diverse group of people.
Learning to network with others successfully is an art and takes some time to learn how to do well. So, we’ve put together 4 ways to network successfully in your career. 1
1. Be authentic.
Learning how to network properly is vital to career success. And, the most important aspect of networking is to remember to be authentic with others. Before you start networking, determine your purpose and intent behind building new relationships with people. Once you determine why you want to network, then consider how you want to network. Genuinely and actively engaging with others will draw people to you and aid in fostering new relationships. Always be kind, curious, and yourself. As a result, people will naturally be drawn to you.
2. Understand that networking is a two-way street.
Focus on giving versus getting and always be fully engaged. Don’t go into networking with the mindset of what you can get out of it for yourself. Networking is a two-way street where you provide and leverage resources for others as well. Help by connecting someone to another person in your circle or providing career advice to a friend. By helping others, you’ll help yourself in the process.
3. Enjoy the process of networking.
Networking doesn’t have to be something to dread if done well and genuinely. Focus on what you can learn from others by uncovering opportunities, discovering new connections, and engaging in important conversations. Always keep an open mind, knowing that you’ll be meeting a lot of interesting people who could potentially end up being very good friends or your next supervisor.
4. Listen first and talk second.
It’s extremely important to focus on the person in front of you when having a conversation. Show a genuine interest in what they have to say. Always listen more than you speak and understand that you might learn a great deal from the other person when you have an intent to learn and connect.
Remember, networking can be fun and enjoyable, especially if you look for opportunities to network that have specific meaning to you. Try to find groups, organizations, or associations where you have a personal interest. Being excited about networking will make networking seem more natural to you. When you have a commonality with those you’re speaking with, networking becomes second nature.