As the old saying goes, it’s all about who you know, not what you know. Building a strong network of like-minded professionals and friends gives you the advantage both before and after the interview process. These days, sometimes knowing someone who works at the company you are applying for is the only way you’ll get an interview in the first place. But don’t fear! Here are some tips to help you build a strong professional network.
- Use professional social media sites
Build your network and reach out to other people using professional sites like LinkedIn. Most recruiters use LinkedIn and it is a good way to highlight your network and skills.
- Have a unique business card
Even in a digital society, business cards are still useful. By having a business card that is a unique color, shape or design, you can stand out from the rest of the traditional cards.
- Attend a networking event and arrive early
Networking events allow you to meet people you otherwise might not have been able to meet before. If you get there early, chances are there will be fewer people there and it will be easier to converse with someone.
- Listen to what other people say
Introverts, this tip will be especially helpful for you. If you listen to someone else’s story, you can not only learn more about them, but also establish a strong connection. If you are comfortable speaking with them, don’t be afraid to ask them about their personal lives and their families.
- Set reasonable goals
For example, if you are attending a networking event, try to talk to at least five people. Or if you are not attending an event, reach out to five people on LinkedIn who are in your industry or work at a company you would like to work for.
Networking experts suggest you should either email, text or call someone within 48 hours of meeting them. This will help create a lasting first impression.