New Years’ Resolutions for Networking

How do you feel about the year ahead?  Excited?  Discouraged?  The new year is the perfect time to try something new.  You’ve heard all about the benefits of networking, but have you made it work for you?  Why not make this the year of connections.  Put everything you have into building a strong network and see what happens.  Here are some tips to get you started:

Join a Professional Association.  But just joining isn’t enough.  Make sure that you actually use the resources that you get access to with your membership.  Attend events, make connections, volunteer, and read industry publications.  Even if you’ve been a member of the association for a long time, this year you will be an active member.

Attend One Networking Event a Month.  You have to get out there to make connections.  You might be surprised by how much of a benefit you can get from attending just once a month.

Follow Up.  You can make a lot of amazing connections, but if you don’t follow up on them, they won’t amount to much.  Follow up on new networking contacts at least 48 hours after meeting them, and make sure you contact your existing network at least once every few months.  Be organized about it and create a system that works for you.

Give to Your Network.  Networking is all about give and take.  You should be just as focused on what you give to your network as you are on what you receive from it.  If being connected to you benefits your contacts, they will always be eager to help you.

Be Yourself.  Some people think that they have to be schmoozy in order to successfully network.  It’s not true.  You will be able to build stronger and more genuine connections if you are true to yourself.

Many job seekers are intimidated by networking so they avoid it.  This is not a good approach because networking is, by far, the most effective strategy for finding a job.  The key is in how you perceive networking.  If you just view it as getting to know people and building relationships with them, you may be more comfortable with it.  It will feel awkward at first, but it gets easier with time.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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