When you’ve nailed staying up to date in your field and practicing personal development, the next step is for you to build large networks.
Social groups will not only help you learn more about your field, they are good for coming across invaluable career opportunities.
So without much further ado, lets figure out how you can network with people, no matter who you are and what your professional stature is.
How to Talk to Strangers
This is the most basic yet most crucial step in your journey to climbing up that career ladder.
Suppose you’ve found yourself at a good place for networking — a work event or your colleague’s wedding. Surrounding you are many prominent people in your field, who you would love to meet and interact with. Only one issue – you don’t have the faintest clue how to talk to these random strangers.
If you are an introvert, well the good news is that its not that hard to step out of your bubble. Here are a few tips on how to hold a conversation with strangers:
- Be respectful. Especially when you’re interacting with someone of the opposite gender, make sure you do not say anything that could be passed off as offensive.
- Ask questions. Human beings love talking about themselves. Ask people about their work, interests — anything that gets them talking. Follow this up with something that you want to know for yourself.
- Remove yourself from your comfort zone. If you come across someone from a different cultural background or another part of the world in general, definitely talk to them. This will expose you to new ideas and values. It is growth. Grab it.
Your Basic Network
Friends, coworkers and old bosses are your main network. They should all be on your LinkedIn, and you should try to attend any get-together that is organized.
Besides all this, go out. Stay updated. Your basic network is like a flower bud. Nurture it, and it will bloom.
The Power of Social Media
LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent tools to expand your network. When you learn of someone’s new job, ask them about it. This will give you an idea of the market value for different positions and also give you tips on improving yourself. It is a powerful way to connect.
Facebook is also a great way to know what events are happening in your professional circles. Make a separate (and public) Facebook profile for your professional colleagues (the one that is free from family and friends that are notorious for saying the most awkward of things on your timeline).
Also ensure that you take the same care in building up your profile online as you do at your physical workplace. Many recruiters do pour through your social media posts and evaluate you on your professional conduct.
Keep in touch with old friends and coworkers. And please — please! — keep your profiles up to date.
Connect Outside Work
It is good to invite some of your colleagues for some tea. This helps increase familiarity and makes you overall better office buddies. Also, tips on the experience of your fellows in your field is a great way to learn more.
Keep in mind, however, that your office connections have to be interacted with in a certain way. Many experts and professionals always say not to mix your personal life with the professional, and for good reason.
Networking is great! Not only is it fun, it is one of the most important tools you need in order to flourish in your career. In Pakistan, however, you can face issues with career progress because of cultural constraints. Our next post will tell you how to deal with them.