Networking helps you grow your social and professional circles. Click here to learn how to make connections that matter.
Are you an introvert who hates big social networking events? You’re not alone. In fact, about 16-50 percent of the population prefer their “alone time” over social situations.
But if you’re job hunting, networking is critical. Even if you’re not looking for a job, networking is important.
Networking grows your social and professional circles. But if big networking events have you hiding in the closet, how do you make crucial connections?
Read on for how to make connections that matter!
1. Identify Critical Contacts
Think about the people in your circle who’ve helped you make valuable connections. These are the 15-20 professional contacts in your life who are most important.
These could be co-workers, customers, or even a mentor or manager. Make a list of these people. Don’t worry if you can only think of 10.
Now make sure you stay in contact with the people on this list. Make contact a few times a year. Send them an email or invite them to coffee. Take an interest in their lives and know what’s important to them.
These are the people who could connect you with your next great job!
2. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Make sure your social media is up to date with a great profile photo.
Search out people who would make great contacts. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms. By looking at someone’s posts, you can tell what’s important to him.
Engage with comments on issues that resonate with you. Direct message people when it’s appropriate. You never know where your next good job lead will come from.
3. A Friend of a Friend
Meet people through your friends. If a friend knows someone you’d like to meet, ask him for an introduction.
If the person you’d like to meet comments on a friend’s social media, make an engaging comment too. If you strike up an online friendship, you can ask them out for coffee and conversation.
4. Listen, Observe, and Ask Relevant Questions
If you’re an introvert, you’re probably a good listener. Listening is a great trait to have when networking because it’s important not to do all the talking.
Ask someone for their advice and then listen to what she says. Listen to what projects she’s working on. Think about where you might offer value.
Ask good questions such as, “What do you like about this job?” But don’t ever come right out and ask for a job.
It’s good etiquette to give a business card when someone asks for one. But don’t go offering them to everyone. If you need great business cards, you can make your own business cards here.
5. Keep Relationships Going
Once you’ve met people, keep the relationships going. Find reasons for following up. Invite your new contacts for coffee. Once you’re on a more comfortable footing in the relationship, ask for suggestions on expanding your network.
Each person you meet knows lots of other people. When one of your new connections hears about a new job opening, you might be the first person they think of!
Learning How to Make Connections
Learning how to make connections isn’t hard. You might even find yourself having fun!
Don’t think of networking as being in a huge awkward setting with a bunch of other people who don’t want to be there. Networking is about increasing your personal connections.
Making connections is the best way to expand your opportunities in your career and life.
If you’re looking for other interesting articles, peruse the blog here.