Whether you already have a job, are just starting the job hunting process, are looking to advance your career, or are a retired professional, you should network with others to help share and generate ideas. Networking is one of the main ways to enhance your career and learn new things about the changing industry in which you work or want to work. Networking allows you the opportunity to connect with other professions and get new ideas that can help you build your business or generate more business. Here are some ways that you can start networking and some tips that you should remember before you start networking.
#1) Start Early
Top experts in almost every field have said that it is never too early to start networking. Students in college should be networking with each other, attending professional networking events, and finding internships where they can meet other professionals. Networking early, especially while you are still in college, can give you a leg up on the competition and help you find the best possible job for yourself.
#2) Join an Association
Regardless of what industry you are in, you can find an association of similar individuals looking to get new ideas and grow their business. For example, if you are a real estate investor, you may choose to join an association like OCREIA. This organization, and similar organizations, allow their members to meet frequently to discuss ideas, listen to guest speakers, make connections, and work together to grow their business and solve complex issues. An association helps you network by giving you immediate access to professionals in the same exact field as you. You can hear what they have to say, learn from their mistakes, and collaborate with them on new jobs. You never know where the future may take you or them, so it is always best to leave a great impression.
#3) Host an Event
If you are an experienced professional, or even new to the game, you may choose to host your own event. You can find an event venue to accommodate your guests and provide them with materials, light refreshments, and an unforgettable day. This event may cost you money upfront, but the connections that you make will be priceless. If you successfully host your own event or co-host an event, the attendees will surely be impressed and will not be able to forget you. This is a costly but highly effective way to network.
#4) Use Social Media
Social media is often underrated in its ability to help people network. Social media in the past was only used by millennials and younger, but today it is being used by almost everyone. Retired professionals, executives, and large corporations all have social media accounts where they can connect with the public. These large companies and executives are always using social media to find the next great idea or great talent.
Before using social media to network, you must first ensure that your page is completely professional. It should include your full name and your up-to-date contact information. Ensure that there are no inappropriate pictures on your account and that all comments on your page are professional. If you need to make yourself a separate private and professional account, you should do so.
#5) Bring Your Resume
You never know who you are going to meet or when you are going to meet them. You should always carry a few extra copies of your resume with you to any networking event. You may impress someone without even trying to and they may ask you for your resume. Make sure all of the information on your resume is current. Having a resume ready to hand out shows people that you are organized, prepared, and ready to take on something new. Your resume will highlight your experience and may help you land a new and exciting job.
Networking is a great way to meet new people in the same field as you. You can collaborate with them and learn about new ways to help you grow your business. You never know who you will meet at a networking event so it is always best to be prepared. You should always look and feel your best so that you make a great first impression every time.