Business networking for beginners

Business networking is a crucial step in your job search and nearly 70% of jobs are filled by networking! So whether you are looking to switch industries or seeking employment after finishing your university studies, these tips can help you establish your professional network.

If you’ve ever felt like it was difficult to break the ice with new contacts here are 5 easy tips to make new connections:

Think of what you can offer

Networking can be a bit of a long-game. Professional relationship building takes trust, mutual respect and sometimes a lot of time. If you find that you are looking for a quick-fix for your career needs you should change your mindset. Instead of seeking assistance for yourself and your goals, you should think of ways that you can help others. Oftentimes the process of helping others creates chain reactions, triggering new opportunities.

Always follow up

This step in the networking process can make or break all the hard work that you've put in up to this point. After making a new connection you can go the old-school way and follow up with an email, or connect with them in the moment on social media. If you choose the latter route, be strategic about how you engage with your new connection. Simple gestures like sending them a message or supporting the content that they post with likes or comments can be a simple way to keep the relationship afloat when done sparingly. There is no “right way” to follow up with someone, the important part is that you don’t neglect to do it entirely.

Be engaged

Everybody likes to feel listened to. Showing genuine interest in others, asking them questions about themselves, and something as simple as smiling can leave a good impression on your new professional connections. Take every opportunity you can to show that you are an engaged listener. A good technique to use while networking is referencing what they just said in the beginning of your response. This reiterates that you were listening, and that you are committed to making the conversation an exchange rather than a one-sided dialogue.

Choose quality over quantity

It can be tempting to try to gain as many connections as possible when networking, especially in today's age of linkedin connections and facebook friends. But try to resist the temptation to spend your networking time collection business cards. Instead, work on creating genuine connections with relevant contacts. You can do more with less in a business networking environment.

Come prepared

Whether you’re heading to a networking event or simply joining a contact for a coffee, put in some time beforehand to get informed. Find topics that you can talk about so that you can establish some common ground. This tip is especially helpful for those among us who tend to be more introverted. Arriving with an outline in mind can make you feel relaxed and ready to build your professional network.

May 19 at 10:41 am

by Molly Hocutt