When the president of the New York Stock Exchange says he owes his very career to networking, you need to listen! Tom Farley believes in the power of networking. Do you?
You can’t know where you’ll be in 5, 10, 15 years. But you can start planting the seeds to success right now! Here’s how:
Build your own reputation. Networking is all about putting yourself out there, connecting, and meeting people. But in a digital age, the first time you “meet” someone might be online. So make sure that your digital profile is a personal brand you can be proud of. Get on LinkedIn and create a profile that doesn’t just reflect who you are now, but also who you want to be! If you’re going to school to advance your career, let everyone know. If you’re trying to find a new career in a specific industry, say so.
Connect with classmates and coworkers. Just like you don’t really know what’s in store for your future, neither do the people you interact with every day. Be open to new associations and relationships. That guy next to you in class might wind up connecting you to a future job. That coworker might have friends and family who could help your career someday. Just remember to be genuine. Don’t look at every person you meet only in terms of what they can do for you. Instead, be open to the possibility that everyone has something they can teach you, even if it has no bearing at all on your career plans.
Seek out current leaders. Do you volunteer? Or have a favorite hobby? Check out the online profiles of the people with whom you’d like to connect. Do they care about what you do? Friendships develop from common interests. Whether you support homeless shelters or are a regular marathon runner, consider all the people who might have similar interests and passions. Share an experience, root for a common team, support the same causes –and you never know where it could all lead.
Stay in touch. Once you’ve started to expand your circle of associates, the hardest thing—but most important—is to keep in touch. You don’t have to talk every week or become BFFs. What you do need to do is get into the habit of reaching out on a regular basis. A quick text, an occasional email, a birthday or holiday card—all send the message that you’re in for the long haul. A one-time meeting could become a lifetime friendship.
If you’d like to learn how to build a career, start with the fundamentals of what you need to know. At Career Quest Learning Centers, we have career training programs in business, healthcare, information technology, and paralegal studies. But we don’t just teach you how to succeed in the classroom; we care about how you’ll succeed in your career. Find out more! Give us a call in Jackson at 877-365-8144, Lansing at 877-481-4930, or check out our newest campus in Mt. Pleasant at 877-345-8505.