Whether your 2016 professional goal is to land a promotion in your company or get a new job, there is one skill that can help you: Networking.
Networking might seem overwhelming, but it’s nothing more than connecting with people with whom you have something in common, in this case, an industry or a career. It is also a critical skill in today’s job market. Research suggests that 80% of jobs are obtained through networking. This makes sense when considering that, on average, companies receive 250 applications per job posting. Hiring someone you know is simply a more efficient way of recruiting, making networking the key to a job seeker’s success.
From attending industry events to meeting someone for a coffee chat, there are various ways to network. But how do you get better at it?
Here are three steps to tone your networking muscle:
Engage. Attending an industry event or connecting with a former colleague? Be engaging to be memorable. Use LinkedIn; prepare questions and answers—remember that this should be a two-way conversation. It is certainly important to have an elevator pitch ready, but you can’t forget to listen. Listening can help you find out how you can be useful to others and create a stronger connection.
Reciprocate. Sometimes helping others is the best way to create connections that will turn into job success in the future. You may connect a friend or former colleague with someone you know; in turn, they may also be introduced to new people through this connection that you previously didn’t know, potentially extending the reach of the overall network for your colleague and yourself.
Appreciate. Whatever you do, don’t forget to say thank you. This is especially true after attending informational interviews or coffee chats. People have taken time to meet with you, so you should demonstrate that you value their time and what they’ve shared with you. It is always a good idea to send a thank you email or, even better, a thank you card.
As a working professional studying at the Rotman School of Management you can count on tailored Career Services and resources that can help you improve your networking skills. Be sure to connect with us or attend one of our events to learn more.
For these and other tips check our blog regularly this year.
Best of luck in 2016!