It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, one of the biggest keys to success usually rests with the connections you make. As you’re exposed to more colleagues, friends, neighbors and even social media contacts, you’re slowly building your network, and with it, increasing the likelihood of personal and professional opportunities.
And here's the thing－the act of networking isn't passive. It requires you to put yourself out there and connect with people as often as possible! Below are our tried and true tips to help put your best face forward and network like a boss.
Join a local networking group
Most cities offer various social and professional groups tailored by career focus or interest. These groups are awesome opportunities to meet new people and grow your network. We suggest taking to Google to see what groups are available in your area. (Examples of NYC personal and professional groups include NYC Social and The Wing)
Print business cards
You never know who you’re going to run into, and the last thing you want is to ask them to type out your name and email on their phone. Have a stack of business cards in your wallet at all times, especially at networking events. You’ll come off prepared and professional! Don’t have one? You can make creative and premium looking business cards easily with Moo.
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Be a connector
One key skill of fabulous networkers is their willingness and ability to connect other people, even when it doesn’t benefit them directly. Is your boss in need of a great florist? Connect them with your friend who owns a flower shop. Is your colleague in need of a photographer? Send an intro email to the photographer who took your professional head shots. Not only is this a kind thing to do but it also builds your reputation as a person who “knows people.” And your constant referrals, intro emails, and personal connections will always end up helping you in the long run.
Send a follow up
After you meet someone and exchange business cards or friendly conversation, it’s important to send a follow up. This serves several important purposes: 1) It shows you’re serious about remaining connected 2) It’s a polite courtesy, and is also a key way to have someone remember who you are. The latter is especially crucial if you’ve connected during a crowded networking event, conference or trade show where your new contact most likely met hundreds of people.