You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Of course, your network can’t make up for lack of knowledge or capability, but they can help get you an interview when you might not otherwise. While building a network, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s the quality of the connections you make that matter, not the quantity.
Your network should and will continue to grow as long as it is beneficial to you. However, handing out business cards any chance you get will earn you no favors down the road. Here are some simple guidelines to follow to keep increasing your network with quality industry professionals:
- Do something nice for someone in your network at least once a week. Yup, being nice is a way to increase your network. But how do you grow your network if you focus on the people that you already know? It’s simple! People talk and if you do enough selfless acts (we’re not talking moving mountains here – more like bringing in donuts, passing along a job opportunity to someone that may be a fit, exceeding expectations on deadlines, etc.) for others, it will become apparent and those people will remember you when speaking with others in their network. Do unto others, right?
- Make an effort to meet new people in your industry at least once a month. Again, you’re hearing us right – just once a month. It could be as simple as attending your local Jaycee’s chapter meetings, a business women networking event, an entrepreneur meetup group or more. Not only does this give you the opportunity to enjoy after-hours time with your peers, you also are getting your name and face out there while enjoying a nice night out.
- Maintain existing relationships. OK, so this final bit of advice is a mixture of the first two but important nonetheless. Making contacts is important, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Cultivating those relationships will show that you are invested in them, giving you the benefit of the doubt when an opportunity arises. Remember: it is the tortoise that wins the race, not the hare.
Networking is all about building relationships, not increasing the amount of connections you have on LinkedIn. Be in the forefront of everyone’s mind for the right reasons. Not a member of the Jaycees? You’re missing out on a great opportunity to create some meaningful networking connections! Visit our website to find out more about our organization and how to join