By Andrea McCarthy, Leadership Institute
Networking, for some, is a difficult part of the job search or career development process. But it is a necessary aspect of professional life for all of us. Below are three tips everyone should remember when preparing a networking strategy.
1) It’s ok to ask for help. So many young professionals are afraid to ask for or even accept help from colleagues, friends or acquaintances. This attitude is not healthy. You should always be open to asking for an introduction, a referral, or professional advice. And if help is offered, accept it! Do not let your pride keep you from getting the professional boost you need because you ‘can’t repay’ whomever is offering help. There is no quicker way to offend and ensure you are not given assistance in the future. People love to help people. Graciously accept offers if they are extended. Politely and respectfully ask for help when needed. And always follow up with sincere thanks.
2) Be willing to assist others. In addition to accepting help, you should always be willing to give it. If someone you know needs a resume proofed, asks for an email introduction, or just wants some career advice, proofread, introduce or advise cheerfully. Though payback should not be your motivation when helping others, you never know when you may need a favor from those you’ve aided.
3) Be genuine. Networking is about developing real, meaningful relationships, helping others, and asking for assistance when you find yourself in need. Sincerity is key to the development of lasting relationships. Do not network just for the sake of collecting business cards, increasing your tally of Facebook friends, and racking up IOUs. Display real interest in the people you meet. Engage them. Ask meaningful questions that go beyond the standard, “what do you do?” or “where do you work?” Genuinely listen to their responses to find common ground. Author of the networking classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie aptly said, ”You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Strive to develop real friendships through networking.
If you have questions on the tips above or about where to start building your network in DC, email me at AMcCarthy@LIMail.US. Happy networking!
Andrea McCarthy is Director of Employment Placement at the Leadership Institute where she coordinates the networking and employment site, conservativejobs.com. Advice from Andrea is a monthly column published by America’s Future Foundation’s Career Center Blog.