Now that you’re mentally prepared to start networking, how can you get started with networking and building relationships today?
There is actually a lot of independent work that can be done upfront before you start reaching out to people. Here are 5 things to add to your to-do list before you get started:
Create or update your resume.
My go to tricks for updating my resume include: keeping it to one page (aka concise, clear and to the point), if you’re more than 1-2 years out of college, put your education on the bottom and keep several versions of your resume to match the language found on different job descriptions (i.e. one job wants an action-oriented person and another wants a driven person - you can match the language on your resume to match the posting).
Create or update your LinkedIn profile.
Super easy to do. You can upload your fresh resume (from step 1!) and it will auto-populate your profile. Also, if you don’t have a professional photo, get one ASAP. Don’t even think about using your favorite selfie or photo from your recent vacation as your LinkedIn profile picture!
Invest in personal business cards.
Say what? Say this: You are working at Target today but you know you won’t be there your whole career. You meet a recruiter while working at Target but by the time they call you, you’re now at General Mills. Too bad, so sad, they only had your Target business card and contact information. BUT if you invest in getting personally branded business cards, they will always have your personal contact information.
Invest in thank you cards.
If you haven’t sent a handwritten note in the working world, you’re missing out on a simple and easy way to make yourself stand out above the crowd. As you meet new people, you’ll want to follow up with a handwritten note thanking them for their time. If you’re a millennial, please do not overlook this small step. People older than us in the workplace are expecting us to follow up with a “thx 4 mtg 2day *emoji*” text. A handwritten note will set you apart.
Make an exhaustive list of careers, topics, industries or roles that you are interested in. Then, trim it down to what stands out the MOST.
You’ll want to make your upcoming interactions intentional. If you’re just going around to meet people for the sake of quantity over quality, your networking won’t be as effective. Be intentional about who and what you want to learn about. It will pay back tenfold as you work to build the relationship past the first meeting.
I had a sample session (free 30-minute coaching call designed for you to get an idea of what this coaching stuff is all about) two weeks ago in which this person left with "homework" to reach out to 3 contacts to set up networking meetings. When we left the call, 3 seemed like a lot people to reach out to. However, after she got in to it, she ended up exceeding her goal by multiple people! 3 started out big, but ended up being small.
Let's connect! If you just can't wait until next week's post on how to start reaching out to your contact and network, click here to set up a free 30 minute coaching call and we'll jumpstart your networking activity!