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Even with a plethora of skills, speaking abilities, experience, or high compatibility with a job description, it is imperative to be able to make essential connections with others to further your career! Networking is crucial for finding new jobs, finding and achieving new opportunities within your current job, and building a support network to help you achieve your career goals! Networking is not just gathering a collection of names and contact information, but building lasting professional relationships that will serve you well on your journey.
Brush up on current and transferrable skills (skills used in different roles, i.e. typing, organizational abilities, management experience, and manufacturing proficiency). Ensure that you can clearly communicate what you have to offer in a variety of job markets.
Have a résumé and cover letter available in digital and hard copy formats. You never know when you will need to transfer information to a potential job network.
Business cards are also good to have on hand, if applicable.
Have a short “elevator pitch” to summarize your skills and abilities for individuals that you meet. This needs to be personable and brief, yet memorable.
Example: “Hello! My name is Jane Doe and I am currently the coordinator for RightWay Consumer Services. I enjoy collaborating in teams, programming software, and I am looking for my next career adventure!”
Start where you are and work outwards. Meet new people on your job, ask for connections, and attend job fairs and work-related events.
Do not be afraid to meet people outside of your “normal” work circles. You never know where a connection could take you!
Use social media and internet platforms to your advantage. Find connections on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more!
Ensure that your social media is appropriate for work. Do not have sexually suggestive pictures or content, illegal substances, embarrassing behaviors, and avoid inappropriate or vulgar language.
If you send a message, be personable, but follow basic guidelines of professional communication (i.e. avoid personal or overly casual speech).
Show your capabilities in current and new locations. Volunteer, work on a new project, or try a new task at your current job to broaden your horizons.
Create plans where you strategize how you will meet with new people. This is customizable for your career plans, strengths, and goals!
Decide which connections are most valuable and reach out to them regularly.
Maintain contact with all people in your network to build and strengthen professional relationships.
Every now and again, send an email, phone call, or social media message to let your connection know how you are progressing with your career or what type of opportunities you are seeking.
*Networking is primarily about connecting with people, not solely collecting people!*