Networking is a lot easier than it used to be. Thanks to social media, we can build, secure, and maintain our connections with greater ease, and often from the comfort of home. But, when it’s crunch time, will your professional network come through for you? Here are some tips for helping to ensure that your connections think of you when it matters most … for example, when the perfect job opportunity opens up.
- Keep everyone up-to-date.
Social media can be a very powerful tool for professional networking, but you have to commit to investing some real time in it. It’s essential that you keep your profile up-to-date, and be sure to avoid some common mistakes while you’re at it. Also, when you are physically with folks in your network, really talk to them. Ask about what’s happening with their work, and share your experiences and your goals, too. People will be much more likely to reach out to you if they know what you’re doing.
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- Keep it simple.
You know that look that someone gets in their eye when they’ve stopped listening to you? You’re going along, telling your story, or sharing your idea, when all of a sudden you realize that you’ve lost their attention. There’s a real risk of this happening when you’re networking, especially when it’s time to talk about what you’re up to (as opposed to listening to their story).
Try to keep in mind that others aren’t as interested in all of the ins and outs of your professional experience as you are. So instead, think short and sweet, as in “elevator pitch.” Be clear and concise. If you can communicate who you are and what you’re looking for in a succinct and captivating way, the members of your network will be more likely to remember what you’re all about when the right opportunity knocks.
- Be memorable, in a good way.
If you want folks to remember you when it really matters most, do something that ensures that they will. One excellent strategy for accomplishing this is to be the kind of person that lends a hand to others in a time of need, without (and this is the key) expecting anything in return. You’re not doing this so that they will do something nice for you later … but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen anyway. Once you’ve etched a grove in someone’s mind that’s positive, it can be pretty tough to reverse that. Be good to others without expecting anything back, and it’s likely that the same will be done for you down the road.