6 Keys to Successful Networking
Networking, or contact management, can help you find a job or improve your professional status. One way or another, we all do it. However, people tend to do so in a random and spontaneous way, which is why it doesn’t often have the desired effect. In this article, we share six keys to successful networking.
To network properly, it’s important to design a coherent and functional contact management model. This isn’t difficult, as it simply involves a bit of common sense, a lot of organizational skills, and some strategic thinking.
Certain companies don’t use meritocracy. Thus, many positions and opportunities are filled by word of mouth. This is where networking comes in and why it’s so important.
“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing but nobody else does.”
-Stewart H. Britt-
6 keys to successful networking
1. Have clear professional goals
To network properly, you need to be very clear about your professional goals. Your strategy will depend on it. Try to be as precise and specific as possible when you’re defining your goals.
Avoid generalities. Your goal isn’t simply to find a job or get promoted. For example, don’t just say “I want to find a job”. Describe the main characteristics of the job you want, as that’ll make the picture a lot clearer.
2. Develop your personal brand
Both for your professional performance and for networking, it’s important to design and implement a personal brand. This means creating a presentation of who you are, emphasizing what makes you different from others.
The question is: how do you want to be perceived by your professional environment? Obviously, you want to seem the best. But you have to go a bit further and explain why you’re good at what you do. This must be reflected in all the graphical elements you use.
3. Design your presentation elements
The best thing to do is to have both a personal and professional social network profile. Your professional profile should be in line with your personal brand and should enhance it. Start with photography. Don’t allow yourself to use poor quality or random images with your professional contacts. Let them see in you what you want them to see.
It’s advisable to make some personal contact cards, which include your photo and basic information. Always carry them with you and give them out whenever you can. It’s also very important to have an impeccable and very professional-looking CV. Keep your information up to date on platforms such as LinkedIn.
4. Networking means contacting
It’s important to gather as many professional contacts as possible, according to the goals you’ve set for yourself. If you’re a lawyer, try to form bonds with all the lawyers and jurists you come into contact with.
It’s also very important that you look for groups related to your career. Many groups or forums bring professionals together. In addition, you should consider joining private groups. Our advice is that you join all of them, as they give you access to important information you probably couldn’t get anywhere else.
5. Don’t lose touch
From time to time, send a message to contacts that you consider to be strategic. Try not to be invasive or pushy. Just send a short message, share content, or ask a specific question. This will keep you in your contacts’ spotlight. Don’t forget to congratulate them every time they achieve a professional goal!
Also, don’t let any week go by without participating in one of the groups, forums, or meetings you belong to. Let them see that you’re there. Participation strengthens your personal brand.
6. Review and re-evaluate
The last of our keys to successful networking is taking an honest look at how you’re doing from time to time. Address the grey areas in your personal brand, update, enhance, and improve your profile, change the look of your business cards, etc. This creates a professional image.
Also, research new contacts, groups, and tools in the sector you’re interested in, etc. Make sure you attend conferences, seminars, and other professional events. You never know what you may get from these events, besides information and knowledge.
Networking is always worthwhile. Don’t expect your contact management to yield immediate results, although sometimes it does. The important thing is for you to create a network and new synergies for your business or image.