Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, networking plays an important part in career growth. Naturally enough, your personal brand ties directly into networking, so we’re going to run through a couple fundamental concepts you can easily add to the mix.
My first point here is to remind everyone to keep an open mind when they think of what constitutes a networking event or opportunity. Of course, we have the more obvious versions: chamber events and various corporate get-togethers.
But what about work holiday parties? If you work for a large organization, this could give you a chance to meet lots of new people you don’t normally interact with. People often forget about weddings. If it’s a local event, you have no idea who you could meet. No matter what type of event, there are lots of reasons you always bring your branding with you. Have fun. But also keep your game face on just in case you end up meeting your future manager.
Talk about them
As an introvert, I discovered this concept quite some time ago. When at events, I needed a way to be social but one that didn’t involve me having to seem brilliant or super conversational. After a while, I decided to just start asking questions.
For one, I was genuinely interested in the answer (that part is pretty important). It was very interesting for me. But even better, I found that people really enjoyed elaborating on their company, skills, experience, etc. It allowed me to get to know them fairly well in a short time while also letting them get excited and enjoy a conversation. In the end, I discovered a great win-win situation.
But there’s more!
So course, there’s a less altruistic component to this approach, especially if you’re networking for the purpose of navigating career steps. For one thing, you’ve now learned a lot about this person and hopefully their organization. If you’re looking for leads or for a new position, you have a good idea of what makes this company tick. What’s their culture like? How does it feel to work there? Does it seem like a place that has potential for you? What are they struggling with?
If it seems like a possible match for a career, you very likely have also learned more about what characteristics make someone successful there. When it comes to possible leads, you should now know about some of the pain points of this organization and will have a better idea of what approach you should take with your pitch. Start to see yourself as an information gatherer, and you’ll be surprised at the doors you’ll open.
Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist