Networking 101: How To Meet Other Professionals, Showcase Your Skills, and Land Your Next Role
Have you ever heard the saying, “Your network is your net worth”? It’s a bit oversimplified, of course, but it’s not a far stretch to say that investing in your network could very well land you your next role.
In fact, a sweeping LinkedIn study of over 20 million people revealed that people were most likely to find new jobs through their casual acquaintances, or what the study called “weak ties.”
This means it’s not your parents, your siblings, or your best friends who are most likely to influence your next career move—it’s the person you’ve only talked to a couple of times after class or someone you know through that kickball league you joined last year!
So, how do you actually go about networking? Here are some tips on how to meet people in your field and grow your future career as a result.
6 Powerful Networking Tips
We get it: Meeting new people can be intimidating, especially when you’re in the middle of trying to launch a new career. Keep in mind that building your networking skills is like building a new muscle; the more you practice, the easier it will become.
Here are a few helpful tips to try:
First, take a deep breath. Before you enter into a networking situation, whenever possible, carve out some space to center yourself before diving in. Whether it’s walking, meditating, or repeating a mantra, mindfulness can help you call in the energy you’ll need for networking.
Do your research. If you know who you’ll be meeting before the event, study up! Read the information that’s out there about each person and develop some questions or subjects you’d like to chat with them about. People will be flattered that you took the time to learn about them and be more likely to open up as a result.
Practice active listening. Sometimes it’s natural to be preoccupied with thoughts about what we’re going to say next, but networking requires you to listen. Pay attention to what people are saying. Ask questions. Search for common ground that you can point out and elaborate on to further the connection.
Showcase your skills. Don’t be afraid to brag on yourself a little! Say the person you’re talking to brings up a challenge they’re wrestling with. If this is something you’ve got experience with, let them know what worked for you. Just as you’d probably appreciate some helpful insight, the other person likely will too.
Follow up afterward. Always remember to exchange contact information and add your new “weak ties” on LinkedIn. We recommend sending a message within 48 hours of meeting them.
Continue to find networking events and opportunities. Don’t stop now! Could you attend an industry webinar? Are there local, national, or even worldwide associations you could join? Perhaps there’s a MeetUp group of professionals in your industry just waiting for you to find it. Whatever you choose to do, continue to find ways to grow your network.
The Art of Following Up
We suggest reaching out to your new contacts within 48 hours. But, what to say?!
Before you message the other person, get clear on what your “ask” is. This might be a coffee chat to learn more about their job, a resume review, advice about an upcoming interview, an introduction to someone else, etc.
When you do message, start by letting them know you enjoyed meeting them. Add in anything you learned from them or found particularly interesting.
Here’s a quick sample to start with: “Hi, Sandra! I really enjoyed meeting you at last night’s event and learning more about your experience as a junior engineer. If you’ve got the bandwidth, I’d really appreciate any advice on my resume as I look for entry-level coding jobs. Thank you so much, and I hope to talk to you soon!”
While these tips apply to new contacts, you might also want to make a list of people you already know from past jobs or experiences. You never know who’s changed jobs, started working at a new company, or gained a new skill set. Reaching out to old contacts now could open up the conversation and lead you down a new path.
How Climb Hire Fosters Networking Opportunities
If you’re interested in making a career change and want a program that will help you grow your network as you do it, check out Climb Hire. Our programs currently host 10 networking-specific offerings, from virtual networking happy hour-style events to classes on how you can prepare yourself for networking opportunities.
No matter which Climb Hire program you’re in, when you attend a virtual networking event, you’ll meet new folks who are working in the area you’re studying. For example, if you’re in the Digital Marketing track, you might meet entry-level marketers, intermediate-level managers, and C-suite marketing professionals! That’s a lot of new contacts to add to your network.
Even better? The Climb Hire program helps you build solid networking skills you can take straight to the real world after you graduate. For instance, you might get an assignment after a networking event to send a LinkedIn message to someone you met with a thoughtful note, as well as an “ask” for your new acquaintance. That way, when you’re out and about meeting people and you come across a potential contact, solidifying that relationship will be second nature!
Want to join our next track and discover firsthand why nearly 80% of Climbers say our community is the best thing about our program? Learn more about our Salesforce Administrator program and apply below!