Networking is not on people’s “Favorite Things to Do” list. For many, the thought of networking makes them break out in a sweat. It can be hard to make small talk and sell yourself to people you don’t know in an uncomfortable setting. All while trying to balance a drink in your hand.
However, it is an essential part of career building.
The good news is there are plenty of easy ways to network that don’t involve going to happy hours. There are things you can do every day and make a part of your daily routine.
Here are some effortless ways to get yourself out there:
Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn is filled with groups you can join based on industry, career interests and skills. Consider joining a few. They are a good way to connect with professionals in your industry and gain insight into what people are talking about. Write some astute comments under people’s posts and share advice. Just be mindful of what you write as you want to put your best brand forward.
Attend Learning Seminars, Industry Events and Conferences
This has a double benefit. Not only will you be learning something new and improving your skills, you will be surrounded by like-minded career professionals who are there for the same reasons as you. Making it easy to strike up casual conversations. Talk about the speakers and how you are going to apply what you learned to your job. This naturally opens the door for you to talk about what you do and ask everyone about their work.
Talk with Your Friends and Family
Just like Beyonce has her Beyhive, you have your own devoted fan base in the form of your family and friends. They can help connect you with the job you want. Share your career goals with them. They might know the perfect person who you should speak with or have a connection at the company you want to work for. Your friends and family are your best advocates and want you to succeed.
Follow Companies and Brands on Social Media
A great way to get to know a company and/or a brand and see what they are doing is to follow them on social media. A lot of times, companies post jobs directly on their page before posting them on job boards. You can jump on them before the mass public does.
Companies also post pictures of their senior executives and team members. Jot down their names and positions. It is easier to reach out to a company to inquire about a job and promote yourself when you have a contact there. Just don’t become a stalker.
Connect with Alumni
People love to help people out who went to their same school. It’s like a rite of passage. You share a special bond with fellow alumni even if you don’t know them. You are connected by your college memories. And that’s a strong connection. Use it.