What Should Be Your Approach To Professional Networking And How Can You Ace It?

What Should Be Your Approach To Professional Networking And How Can You Ace It?
If you think that a degree and a bit of professional experience is enough to begin a great career, then you might need a reality check.
While both of the above factors do play a role in kick-starting a successful career, there is something more you need to make a mark in the professional world- 

Networking. In fact, a report by LinkedIn suggests that as high as 85% of the jobs are filled through networking. To find a decent job or internship, networking is undoubtedly one of the most popular and talked about strategies. However, it isn't an easy skill to master.

How To Approach Professional Networking?

Professional networking is no easy feat to achieve. It is much more than carrying business cards, sending out LinkedIn invites, and attending business events where you end up shaking hands and soon forget all about the people you met.

A big part of professional networking is about presenting your talents and proving your value to prospective employers. And you can't possibly do this without a robust plan.

Before you attend any networking event such as professional meets or d2c conferences, think about the best possible way you can use to talk about your talents, strengths, and the value you can offer.

Apart from being a good conversation starter, you also need to master the art of knowing when to listen. It is crucial to note that networking isn't just about you speaking and explaining yourself, without giving any chance to the other person. Networking does not mean that you need to do all the talking. Take the lead to start the conversation but patiently hear out the other person as well.

Another critical aspect of networking is to clear all your doubts by asking relevant questions. It is also a unique way of showing your interest in working with the person you just interacted with and their firm. 
Some of the good questions that you can ask include-
• What kind of skills or experience do I need to start a successful career in this field?
• What do you like the most about your position?
• Do you have a recommendation on who I talk to next?
If you have seen any news related to the connection (a new job they started, recent promotion, etc.), then say congratulations. Also, make sure to keep the conversation short and crisp, and do not forget to thank the person for their valuable time.

Top 5 Ways To Network Professionally

Networking is a critically important skill for most professionals, but it does not come easily to everyone. The best way to learn how to network comes through experience and constant exposure.

Professionals who are skilled at networking clearly know to avoid specific actions in their effort to forge relationships and make meaningful connections.
Given below are five pointers to help you ace the art of professional networking-

1. Attend Career Fairs and Conferences

Career fairs and d2c conferences are an excellent way to meet many employers at one venue and offer a perfect opportunity to share your CV.
For the simple reason that many jobs aren't advertised, and if you wish to get a chance of moving to a more interesting career opportunity or job role with a new company, you'll need to network extensively to find out about them.

A lot of organizations recommend candidates they know and those who impress them with their credentials. What this means is, even if you're not networking with direct-hire, there are still chances that you will be recommended via the connections you made.

Also, make sure to have your elevator speech ready and do not forget to follow up with a quick thank-you note to each interviewer with whom you've interacted.

2. Join Various Professional Associations

If you wish to build a robust list of contacts for networking, joining professional associations is a great idea. Most of these associations hold annual conferences on a regular basis where you can get a chance to learn more about the field you desire to work in as well as meet professionals who are already working in the field.

Attending the best ecommerce conferences conducted by these associations also gives you an excellent opportunity to read journals and publications to enhance your knowledge.

3. Build a Solid Reputation by Publishing and Speaking

This might be a hard nut to crack for the introverts, but it's imperative. Landing speaking gigs or publishing your work (blog post, guest columns, etc.) not only enhances your credibility but also allows you to connect with a number of potential employers, clients, and business hires.

4. Use Social Media to Widen Your Reach

 Use your social media accounts, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to build relationships with potential clients, work associates, employers, and more.

However, the thin line between personal and professional communication makes networking on social media a bit tricky. Make sure to keep your interactions professional and classy instead of making it a slideshow of your day-to-day personal life.

5. Follow Up on Connections You Made

The work doesn't end at having made an impression on prospective employers and getting their contact information. You also need to follow up and get in touch with new connections within 48 hours of meeting them.

This is a unique way of showing that you are really interested in their organization or what they do and are eager to work with them or wish to learn more about them.

To Summarise

The right employee referral can enhance your chances of landing a good job extensively. Likewise, if you're looking for a career change, your professional network can help you find the best connections in the industry to land jobs at specific companies.

However, it is important to network in the right places to increase your chances of meeting a lot of experienced professionals and experts in your desired industry and sector.

Take the time to network and build meaningful relationships with those in your professional circle to help you with referrals, job leads, and other career-related valuable information.
Thanks a lot for reading along. What do you think? Kindly drop us a comment and don't forget to share to your friends.
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