Happy New Year! I hope that 2020 brings you peace and abundance.
At any point in your career, networking is valuable. Early on, you can meet experienced people who will guide you, inform you or introduce you to other people. Further along, you can pass the torch and help less experienced people.
Most people I speak with avoid networking because
They don’t want to bother any one
They don’t want to go to a networking event alone
They don’t have time
They don’t know what to say
The benefits of networking include
Learning about what’s going on in your industry
The ability to reassess your current job and potential career paths
Increasing your visibility to others
Establishing long term relationships
If you’re avoiding networking, you can try
Contacting people who went to your college
Speaking with people within your own company, at all levels
Go with a friend to an event
Understand your personality and comfort level.
If you’re an introvert: try inviting someone for a cup of coffee, for 30 minutes.
If you’re an extrovert: look for larger networking events OR establish your own networking event
Preparing for networking events with lots of people
Bring business cards! Wear something that makes you feel great.
Prepare a short 10-second sentence to introduce yourself: “Hi, I’m Suzanna. I’m an Accountant at Wonderful Company. How are you today? “
Ask people questions such as “What company are you with?”, “What do you do there?”, “What brought you to this event?”, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
Preparing for one-on-one networking or informational interviews
At a minimum, look at the person’s LinkedIn profile. If you have more time, look at their company’s website.
Prepare 5-10 questions.
“How did you get into architecture?”
“What have you enjoyed the most about your career?”
“I’m feeling stuck in my current position. Are there any insights you could offer about where I can go from here?”
“Do you recommend pursuing a Masters Degree or Certifications?”
After all that effort!!
Follow up with a short, friendly email, LinkedIn message or text to the people you met.
Depending on your preferred networking style, look for events to attend or people you can meet with.