Gone are the days where networking consisted of an awkward after-work mixer with nametags and not enough cocktails. The new networking culture is not nine to five, it’s twenty-four seven. The good news is that you can now network from just about anywhere at any time, day or night.
The flip side is that now that opportunities to build relationships and sell yourself are everywhere, you need to know how to best capitalize on them. Are you prepared to keep up? Here are some quick tips for navigating the new culture of networking in 2017.
Get Involved Outside of Work
Think about all the previous networking experiences you’ve had. The ones that actually resulted in new opportunities all likely had one characteristic in common: they were comfortable, not awkward. When you’re comfortable, your passion and strengths are able to shine through. Everyone wants to work with someone they find interesting and inspiring.
Building relationships outside of work allows you to shift the focus from getting business to simply developing relationships. Consider joining an activity that would be something other professionals might do to relax in their free time. This could be a recreational sport league, a gym (“sweatworking” is actually a thing now), a social club, a book club, or community involvement. It is more natural to develop a relationship with someone through a common passion in a relaxed setting. Build the foundation of trust and the opportunities will come.
Not sure where to network? Check online for social apps that are available such as Meetup. It’s the perfect way to meet people who share your interests. Feel a little uncomfortable striking up conversations with strangers? Dogs make everything less awkward – especially if there is a cocktail or two involved. Check out if there is a Yappy Hour event in your area. This social setting allows pet owners to network at dog-friendly facilities including upscale hotels in Metropolitan areas across the country.
Twitter chats are Twitter-based dialogues that anyone can join just by following and mentioning the hashtag assigned to the chat. They are regular conversations, usually taking place on the same day of each week, hosted and moderated by a Twitter user. You can find a chat that is relevant to your industry by looking for chats hosted by industry leaders or doing a quick Google search for Twitter chats in your field or area of interest.
Once you identify your chats, follow the people who run these chats. At the scheduled time of the chat, you can either search for the designated hashtag in Twitter or login with your account through TweetChat. Your goal should be to build rapport with fellow users. Make yourself visible by asking and answering questions. If someone’s post is particularly informative or relevant, re-tweet it. If you’re attending an industry conference, search Twitter for the associated hashtag to discover which of your colleagues will be there and to identify other informal events that may be taking place during the conference.
To become active in LinkedIn groups, start by identifying which groups are key to your industry. Determine which groups your mentors or main competitors belong to and join them. Since your membership in a group is contingent upon the group leader’s approval, make sure your personal profile is thorough and up to date, especially with regard to skills and accomplishments. Alternatively, you can receive an invitation to a group or even start your own group.
Once a member, start by listening and asking questions to determine how you can add value to the group. If you’ve recently written an article on a particularly relevant topic, share it with the group. Once you’ve built a rapport with certain members, ask them to connect. When you request a connection, write a personal note in lieu of the template greeting to remind them of the basis for your connection.
Work with A Recruiter
Looking for your dream job? At Partnership Employment, we are master networkers who take pride in knowing your industry. Contact us today and let us put our network to work for you!