Whether it’s getting a job in the first place, advancing in your career, or trying to achieve something in life, it really is about who you know. You have to develop your network. Sometimes that takes some strategic planning so you can meet the right people to get where you want in life. But let me clarify – the purpose isn’t to use people. The relationships you build with others are give and take. As long as you show up, follow up, and show your gratitude, you’ll be able to move closer toward achieving your goals.
There are a lot of ways to expand your network to get to know the people who can get you to where you want to be. Here are a couple of tips:
- Volunteer and do small favors for others – be a giver! When you give your time and effort to someone else, they notice. It goes a long way, and it says a lot about someone’s character if they’re willing to give their time and effort to someone else (even if they don’t know them).
- Look into alumni networks or field-specific networks – you already have something in common, whether that’s your university or career field. It’s a little easier to spark conversation if the connection is already there.
- Join a local business organization – many cities already have organizations like this that allow people to network, but if your city doesn’t have one, create one!
- Ask someone you know to introduce you to someone (and offer the same in return) – if they already have the connection with someone you’d like to connect with, ask them to introduce you! This is a much more personal approach that can work out better for you too.
- Interact on social media platforms with those in your field or the area you’re looking to grow your network – LinkedIn is a great place to start, although it’s also easy to chime in on conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.
- Attend networking events – this one is a bit obvious, but they work! There are often people from your local area that come to these events, both to offer event support and to network with people in their community.
Which networking method are you going to try first?