Networking requires time, patience and careful observation. Cultivate your relationships now; don’t wait until you need a job. The more you put into the networking relationship, the more you will get out of it. Give yourself plenty of opportunities to practice and refine your skills.
- Learn to talk about who you are and what you are seeking in everyday situations. You never know when a casual conversation might turn into a networking opportunity.
- Make a good impression quickly through an elevator pitch or professional introduction.
- Be brief and to the point about what you are hoping to achieve from the conversation.
- Try to get a business card, phone number, referral, etc. Some method of future contact or follow-up allows you to develop this further. If you say you’ll follow up, make sure you do it!
- Be gracious and send a thank-you note or express your gratitude for the networking assistance.
- Keep records to stay organized and focused; an Excel spreadsheet works nicely!
- Develop a personal brand. Know who you are and the value you bring to the relationship.