Networking is meeting and sharing information with individuals and groups of people in your field of interest. For example, if you are looking for a job, these people include potential employers, recruiters, head hunters and HR agencies.
Networking is very easy to do if you do it right. You can network pretty much anywhere and with whomever you are interested in networking with. There’s no restriction. You can even network when you’re riding on the subway. You can start talking with the person you are sitting next to and make a new connection.
Networking is all about meeting with new people and expanding your network. However, it also depends on what you are trying to accomplish by meeting these new people. If you are searching for a new job, it is important to meet the right people to get the interviews you want. In order to meet the right people, you should start going to networking events, such as events related to the industry you are looking to work in or job fairs or information sessions held in your area.
When you are actively networking trying to find the key people that will help you reach your goals, it is very easy to forget who you have met for what purpose. Therefore, I highly recommend keeping track of all the people you have met. In order to do this, try to get their business cards when you meet them. If they are on LinkedIn, add them to your contacts, and you can e-mail them or talk with them later when you need to. If they don’t use LinkedIn, then keep their business cards or e-mail addresses.
It is a good gesture to follow up with people you have met at networking events. You can send a nice thank-you e-mail saying, “Thank you for our conversation today. It was very nice to meet with you. I hope we keep in touch.” That’s how easy it is. Afterward, you can save their e-mail addresses to your address book and you can add them on LinkedIn. You can put their business cards in a folder. There are all kinds of different ways to keep track of their information.
When you are networking, it is also very important to grab the attention of the person you are talking with, as a way to show your skills and values. Therefore, you need to have a great personal elevator pitch. If you need more information on developing a perfect personal pitch, you can read my previous blog post about this topic. Don’t forget that you should always keep your personal pitch up-to-date and practice it from time to time.