You know networking is an important part of advancing your career. Techies, just like any other kind of professional, often hear about new opportunities through friends and colleagues. But time is short and you’re busy. So when it comes to actually making connections, what’s the best approach? Here are some steps to help you:
Tip #1: Network with a friend.
As leading technical recruiters in Kansas City, Morgan Hunter Healthcare certainly understands that most people don’t get excited about attending networking events. However, you can turn the evening into a more fun – and effective – networking opportunity by bringing a friend. This is especially true if you are new to the industry or event, and your friend is more knowledgeable. Plus at the end of it all, you can trade stories about who you met and what you learned.
Tip #2: Make the time.
Effective networking takes time, which you probably don’t have a lot of. One way to overcome limited time is to schedule networking activities in every single week. For instance, every Tuesday morning at 9 am schedule an hour to take a look at industry publications, blogs, and LinkedIn articles posted by your contacts. If you see someone celebrating a work anniversary or who landed a promotion, send them a congratulatory message.
Tip #3: Give back.
Don’t expect to be the only one to benefit from your networking efforts. It’s also important to give back to others when the opportunity to do so comes along. Offer your help and your time to help a colleague solve a problem, or work through a difficult situation. Not only will you develop deeper relationships with people, but you’ll sharpen your problem solving skills.
Tip #4: Follow up after a connection is made.
Make it a point to follow up with those you’ve just met, even if it’s simply sending a “nice to meet you the other day” email to them. Or you can share a news article you came across pertaining to the conversation you two had. Either way, follow up in a friendly and natural way.
Tip #5: Schedule touchpoints.
There just isn’t enough time in the day for you to touch base with every person in your network regularly. However, you can focus on – and actually give value to – your top 10%. Meet for coffee, attend a tradeshow together, or send along a handwritten thank you note when one of them helps you out.
Knowing how to network is one of the most valuable skills you can have. Follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better networker.