The new year brings new opportunities to network, and fresh ways to form valuable business connections - especially if you’re in the market for a new job. Seeking out and participating in events and opportunities will help you gain valuable connections - and confidence - to help you in your job search.
Use these 5 networking tips below to help you land a happier job in 2018.
1. Step outside of your comfort zone
Maybe networking events aren’t your thing, or you’ve never really had the time to make them a priority. This year, move outside of your comfort zone and participate in something new that you’ve always wanted to try. Schedule time for a conference, take time to talk to different people in your community, or just reconnect with old contacts you’ve been meaning to email.
2. Listen, learn, and ask questions
The best way to make a first impression is to listen to what others have to say with true interest. Whether you’re at a conference or on a phone call, show that you are interested in what the other party has to say, and ask meaningful questions throughout the conversation. By learning what it is they do or are interested in, you’ll be able to find common ground as an opening to talk about yourself and what you’re passionate about.
3. Be the first to show up and last to leave
Ditch the old adage “fashionably late” and show up to each event on time. If you’re one of the first to arrive, you’ll get a lay of the land and have opportunities to chat with a number of different people before everyone has settled into groups. And if you resist the urge to leave early, you’ll be able to develop deeper conversations with your initial contacts, and meet more people.
4. Participate in local business events
Don't underestimate the power of your local community. Take the time to research in your area or call your local chamber of commerce to find out about upcoming events. Whether you’re new to the area, or a long time resident, you’ll be surprised at how much power a shared trait like your community can have.
5. Always follow-up
Be sure to always follow-up with the connections you’ve made after networking events or meetings. Send them a personalized email with a few sentences about where you met and what you discussed, and that you enjoyed meeting them. If you don’t get around to emailing everyone right away, an easy way to follow-up is to send them a LinkedIn invite. By reconnecting with the people you’ve met, you’ll open the door for potential meetings and conversations in the future.