Networking for Career Success & Focus

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As I have shared in previous posts creditability, being an expert and offering value all interrelates into networking and building a community of people, who believe, and want to work with you. Networking is a lifestyle not just an activity. You need to make connections with people. It’s the #1 most important thing you can do to accomplish your goals.

Why network? More than 83% of all jobs are found and developed by word of mouth and by relationships build over days or years of contributing to one another. It’s also a time to serve and give to another person and be given to in exchange. One important factor that is often overlooked in networking is the importance of a clear goal and focus for networking.

Where to start?

Clarify your purpose and your intention for networking. Do you want to attract a new job, move, learn something new or make a friend? Be clear and specific before you begin.Identify a way to introduce yourself. Develop a 30 second introductory statements or elevator pitch. Include your accomplishments, your goals and something unique about you. Please email me to receive a handout on this.Think of your life as one big canvas and opportunity to meet and network. Everyone you come in contact with is a person you can learn from, contribute to and be helped by.

Building Your Connections

Begin to brainstorm and write down people who you would like to share your goals with and receive help from. These are usually former supervisors, friends, neighbors, vendors, relatives, and people you interact with daily, a mentor someone further along that you are. This is a time to find places and organizations you believe in and find ways to align. The most effective way to do that is to volunteer and take on a project or event that you can get exposure with and be involved with. The process of gaining creditability with an organization while you are helping them supports you to expand your network. By being seen and affiliated with you increase your creditability and recognition.

Making Contact

Develop your relationships when you don’t need them. Offer to help someone and extend yourself by being generous. This will provide a foundation that is worth working from. Find automated ways to stay in touch with people. Begin a blog, do a monthly newsletter, send out a group notice about fun events to attend or charity functions you support. I also find ways to keep track of what people are excited about and needing and I’ll send magazine articles, resources, links, and ideas as I hear about them. I also find it helpful to link people together via facebook or linked in and by sharing quotes, Utube videos and job leads with others. Be a resource, offering who you are and your individual value to others. They will remember and want to help you back.

Following Up

After you’ve made contact with someone send a handwritten thank you note with your personal flair and focus. Be remembered by being YOU. Take the time to connect with people and contribute to their success. A simple email follow up is good too so they have your contact information in your signature line and are able to add you to their address book and send texts and updates to you too. Find time in your schedule to meet with at least one new person per week for coffee or tea. Ask them about them, get them connected to their dreams, be inspired by people’s stories and create space for new opportunities to come to you. When someone extends himself or herself to you, be gracious and willing and thank them. It takes a lot to step out of our comfort zones and engage with someone new.

Have fun and share one of your networking success stories with us.