73% of people surveyed said they got a job before because of business connections. If that doesn’t prove how important business networking is, then nothing will.
The fact is, you need to strike up relationships with those in your field to gain access to opportunities. Often, these contacts open doors you otherwise wouldn’t find, and they can definitely jump-start your career.
It can be difficult to formulate effective strategies to build and maintain meaningful relationships though. So we’re here to help.
Read on to find out how to make connections in your professional life.
Identify Your Interests
Take a look around the world, there are thousands of industries, millions of businesses, and tens of millions of professionals. If you use the right search techniques, then you can easily find exactly what you need.
However, this starts with identifying your interests; without this step, you’ll waste your time sifting through irrelevant data.
Think about what industries you’re interested in exploring. Then, find out:
- What companies work in this interest area
- What types of roles exist in the industry
- Who are the best people to reach out to
By addressing these questions, you can focus your energy on a more concentrated area. You’ll be able to research companies and industries specific to your interests.
And better yet, this list of researched contacts will go outside the scope of traditional college recruiting channels. This means you’ll discover additional opportunities that you wouldn’t have before.
Reach Out to Industry Professionals
One of the best ways to make career connections is to be proactive. You should perform outreach to contacts with personalized invitations to meet.
Industry professionals and business leaders will actually be pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to meet with an emerging professional, so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you show them that you’re eager to learn about their industry, company, and role, then they’ll be more than happy to have an informational interview with you.
When you meet one-on-one with these experts, you’ll get advice on the needed skills for your desired job. In addition, they’ll give you ideas on how to break into an industry.
Most importantly, you’ll build direct rapport with your new business contacts. This will be invaluable, as you’ll have a significant advantage compared to other college students.
If you aren’t sure what to do during these one-on-one meetings, then invest time into our Actionable Networking program. We’ll prepare you with question sequences, active listening techniques, and effective follow-up steps.
You’ll gain the necessary career skills to interact effectively with industry professionals. In fact, we provided tested outreach templates that resulted in positive responses that are 16 times more effective than traditional cold outreach tactics. You can count on our program to produce fantastic results.
Utilize Your Existing Connections
If you’re at a loss as to how to network, then start off easy and use what you already have. Chances are, you already know a few people in the industry, so take advantage of that.
Leverage your current connections to introduce you to their contacts. Because these contacts can vouch for you and give you a warm introduction, this significantly improves your chances of making a meaningful connection. As a result, you can grow your network quicker and get one step closer to your dream job.
Go to Networking Events
Networking events are specifically for professionals to make connections, so it never hurts to attend these. Look for industry conferences, seminars, and workshops to sign up for.
These are all excellent opportunities to meet other professionals, as well as potential mentors and future collaborators. Even if someone doesn’t initially seem like they’d be relevant to you, it’s still worth it to chat with them and connect. After all, you never know if you’ll get a random opportunity that requires their expertise.
Maintain These Business Connections
Building rapport takes initial effort, but you’re not done after making these connections. You’ll also need to deeper these relationships and maintain them.
To do this, you’ll need to provide value to stay top-of-mind with business leaders. So how do you do this?
You’ll have to create your own unique skill-based value-creation model and develop a value-add cadence that builds reciprocity. This leads to referral opportunities that unlock hidden job opportunities when the time is right.
This may sound like a tall order, but Actionable Networking will walk you through all these steps to set you up for success.
Be Approachable, Positive, and Genuine
No one wants to approach a surly person, so do your best to be approachable. Be friendly and positive in your interactions with others, as people are more likely to connect with individuals who show a positive attitude.
Plus, they can tell when someone’s not being genuine, which means authenticity is vital when making connections. Be yourself and express your genuine interests. Make sure you show a sincere desire to learn from and collaborate with others.
Most importantly, be willing to assist others with their challenges or offer support when needed. Building a reputation as a helpful and reliable person can lead to long-lasting business contacts.
Know How to Make Connections Effectively
When you know how to make connections effectively, you’ll unlock a brighter future with many wonderful options.
However, making real business relationships isn’t easy. Not only do you have to put yourself out there, but you have to make an active effort to maintain these connections too.
Once you’ve got a hang of it, though, it’ll be worth it. You’ll have a whole network of professionals at your disposal.
If you’re interested in learning more about Actionable Networking, then sign up for our workshop now. We’ll prepare you for your dream job over three sessions.