Everybody knows how important networking is. But there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. Like anything else, you need to do some planning and preparation before diving in.
You should do a little research to determine who can be of most use to you in your career, rather than simply contacting people in a scattershot approach. Quality here is more important than quantity. Here are a few other things you need to keep in mind about networking.
1. Networking is ongoing
It’s not something you do only when you are looking for a job. It’s something you should do on an ongoing basis. You need to reach out to your contacts at least once a month. And you need to continually work on enlarging your network.
If you maintain regular contact with people in your network, it won’t seem so awkward when you do need to contact them for help. If you continually network, and try to increase your network, you will find new opportunities opening up. Joining network groups can help as well.
2. Use social networking sites on the web
Networking is not just about taking but about giving as well. Ideally, when you network, both parties gain something in the exchange. With social networking, you can share information and articles you have read, contribute to online Groups and comment on posts by people in your network. This is all part of giving.
3. Show gratitude
If someone in your network puts you in touch with someone else, be sure to follow up with your contact and thank him or her for his efforts and tell him what happened.
4. Have a cause for contact
When you are looking to add someone to your network, you should come up with a good reason for contacting him or her – something other than simply wanting to add the person to your network. Telling him this makes it sound as if he is just another notch on your belt, there only because of his usefulness to you.
This is where a little research might come in handy. Look at what the person has written. Then, when you contact him, you can refer to his articles and ask him for advice in his area of expertise or offer a comment on his work.