5 Surefire Ways To Improve Your Networking Skills
Effective networking plays a critical role in advancing one’s career. A recent survey of recruiters stated that over 80% of all positions are filled via networking. Some people seem to have a natural ability to build their professional networks. To others, the mention of the word networking sends shivers down their spines.
If you fall into the latter category, you can learn to build your network. It’s important to know that networking isn’t donning a name tag in a large room full of strangers who are trying to sell things to each other. Networking as a process, not an event. Here are five steps to put this process in action and build your professional network.
Know Where You are Going
There are two parts to knowing where you are going. First, you need to set goals for your career. Even if you have already done this it is a good idea to revisit your goals frequently. Identify where you want to be in 90 days, 1 year, 5 years and 10 years. These goals can include compensation, position, education, entrepreneurship, etc. The important things are that you identify specific goals, set timelines and write them down.
Once you have written out your goals it’s time to identify connections and potential connections. Next to each goal list three names of people who can help you achieve that goal. You may or may not know these people personally. Consider this a working list that will evolve.
Climb the Ladder One Rung at a Time
Now that you’ve made a list of connections, take a look at where you are in your career. Compare that to where the people on your list are in their careers. A solid strategy is to develop relationships with professionals who are slightly ahead of where you are. Trying to connect with the CEO when you are in mid-management isn’t likely to help you. Knowing a department head, or VP who leads a division you are interested in is a better plan.
Become an Altruistic Connector
This is perhaps the most important step in building a solid network. Always look for two people you know who would benefit from knowing each other. Then introduce them. Make these connections even though they have no direct benefit to your career. In time you will become known as a trusted connector and someone who is interested in real relationships. This will come back to you in the form of solid introductions that will help your career.
Ask the Right Questions
Get to know people. Be sincerely interested. This is about building lifelong relationships. Ask insightful, open-ended questions. By doing this, listening carefully and asking more questions you can gain deep knowledge about people. Get to know their goals as well as you know your own. This will give you the knowledge you need to become an altruistic connector.
Build Relationships Rather Than Contacts
Building your professional network is much more than swapping business cards in a group. Your goal is to build deep relationships with trusted colleagues, mentors, partners, and investors. Just as building your personal relationships, this is a lifelong process. Sometimes a relationship isn’t right. If you find that a connection isn’t working out for you or the other party, move on. Your list of contacts in step one should always be in motion.
Now, go out and become a valued connector.
Danielle Foppe is a Recruitment Manager at Business Centric Technology. If you are interested in learning more about how to get the best IT talent in the Dallas metroplex, contact Danielle directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 972-267-7950. Business Centric Technology specializes in recruiting IT talent in Dallas, Ft. Worth and North Texas. If you are looking for a rewarding career contact us today.