Networking in business is crucial for your career advancement, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
To make business networking a bit less intimidating, remember this: you already have a network. Friends, family, community—these are all people that can put you in contact with other people and help you expand your network.
The trick is to identify whom you need to seek out. Here are some tips on how to build your business network:
Go through contacts: friends, family, schoolmates, neighbors, club members, teammates, etc. Get in touch with everyone. If you don’t know what they do, find out! Be curious and kind. People love talking about themselves, so more often than not they’ll be open to speaking with you! Once you have a good list of people you know, organize these contacts so you can prioritize who would be best to build a relationship with, and also keep in mind whom you can benefit. Networking is a two way street.
Keep a careful record of everyone you meet. You’ll be meeting a lot of new faces, and it can be pretty embarrassing if you forget someone’s name. When you leave a networking event, take notes on those you meet. Give a little physical description, the company they work for, their title, what you talked about, and your first impressions. If you believe they’re an especially important contact, be sure to note why you think so and reflect on how you can strengthen your relationship.
When you know what you need, you know what to ask for. If you can identify your asks, then you can more easily identify who you need to talk to. Build a strategy that matches your goals to the people you know.
What are you looking to gain from your network? Find out what that is, and then put it on social media. Social media has a wide reach. It’s likely someone knows someone that can help you work toward your goal. Create a social network that can also be a business network. Once you get a lead, be sure to follow up!
Do you really know what your second cousin’s job is? How about your friend’s roommate? Every person in your life either has a job, or knows someone who has a job. Vocalize what you’re looking for and ask questions to all of your friends and family. Also attend networking groups! You’ll be surprised that once you attend one, you’ll be invited to many more.
When you have a solid strategy, are organized, and exercise kind curiosity, you’re well on your way to building successful business networks for yourself.
How has networking helped your career? Do you have any additional advice to share? Share your experience on UltiCareer to help students or anyone looking for a career path get to know what your type of job is really like!
on UltiCareer to help others on their job search, get to know what your type of job is really like.