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How to Network Like a Pro in 2023

September 20, 2023
ASK Consulting

​If you’re not an extrovert, networking probably does not come easy for you. When you think of networking, you think of meeting strangers in a conference room where everyone is wearing name tags and making small talk. While this was once the case, social media changed the game, especially with the rise of LinkedIn as the world’s most important career site. If you’re someone who is more comfortable in front of a computer screen, networking is far less daunting, however, it still takes the honing of certain skills to make you successful at it. In today’s blog post, we’re going to break down what networking is, why it's important, who you should add to your network, and how to master networking as a whole.

What is networking?

​Career networking is defined as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. A well-rounded network will provide more opportunities than you would get on your own, whether you’re in the market for a new job, want to build new skills, or even simply become more established in your current industry.

Why network?

​According to a study by The Balance, close to 80% of professionals recognize networking as important to their career growth. 35% of those surveyed said that a casual conversation on LinkedIn grew into a new job opportunity. 61% agree that regular online interactions with their professional network can turn into job opportunities.

​With whom should you network? It’s easier than you think!

  • Former coworkers, former managers, present coworkers, and managers, as well as clients/vendors/other contacts who you have a good professional relationship with.
  • Alumni and professors of your alma mater
  • Members of community service organizations or professional organizations
  • Anyone that you have regular interactions with, whether at church, the gym, the grocery store, etc.
  • Attendees at in-person events.

​Yes, you should attend some in-person events as uncomfortable as that could be for introverted people. In-person events are the best places to find common ground with other professionals. Whether you’re in line at the bar, volunteering, or sitting at a table with strangers, a few comments about your job or hobbies can create lasting connections.

​7 ways to get better at networking

​There’s no shame in practicing! Networking is a skill that very few people master immediately. Start by asking your neighbors about their jobs, or ask strangers while you’re in line at the grocery store. Getting comfortable with small talk may be the confidence boost you need. Then, follow our seven tips below to become a master networker.​

  1. Define your career goals: Before you start networking, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your career goals. This will help you focus on the right people and opportunities that align with your aspirations.
  2. Build your online presence: In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial. Build your professional profile on social media platforms like LinkedIn and connect with professionals in your industry. Share your work, insights, and achievements online to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
  3. Attend industry events: Attending industry events and conferences is an excellent way to meet new people, learn about new trends and opportunities, and expand your professional network. Make sure to prepare ahead of time and research the event's speakers and attendees to identify people you want to meet.
  4. Join professional associations: Joining a professional association is an excellent way to connect with people in your industry and stay updated on the latest trends and developments. Attend events, participate in discussions, and volunteer for committees to get involved and build relationships.
  5. Practice active listening: Networking is not just about talking; it's also about listening. When you meet someone, ask questions and show a genuine interest in what they have to say. This will help you build rapport and establish a connection with them.
  6. Follow up: After meeting someone, make sure to follow up with them. Send a personalized email, connect on LinkedIn, or schedule a follow-up meeting. This will help you stay top of mind and build a long-term relationship.​
  7. Be authentic: Finally, be yourself. People can sense when you are not being genuine, and it can hurt your chances of building a meaningful connection. Be authentic, honest, and open-minded, and you will build strong, lasting relationships that will help you throughout your career.

​In conclusion, career networking is essential for professional development. By defining your career goals, building your online presence, attending industry events, joining professional associations, practicing active listening, following up, and being authentic, you can improve your networking skills and build a strong professional network that will help you advance your career.

How can ASK Consulting help?

​If you need help finding a job, contact ASK Consulting, or check out our job board today to see all the opportunities we have available. Our team of experts has connections throughout the country and they want to see you succeed.

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