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Want to know how you can grow and market your networking skills in 2021? Well, I have some fabulous tips and tricks for you to begin implementing TODAY! Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, I will help you understand how to broaden your network and put your best foot forward in your professional life. As work from home becomes the new normal and office space is becoming less and less popular, we’re going to need to continue developing creative ways to network ourselves and meet people in our professional environments. Even if it’s for the time being, we have to make the opportunities available to us work. So let’s have a conversation about how you can put your best foot forward, virtually.
Whatever you’re working towards, getting a new job, building your career, starting something new… Whatever boat you’re in, it’s important you’re always broadening your network and working to meet new people. You never know if you’ll one day come across the person that could offer you the opportunity of a lifetime. So, when you’re putting yourself out there, signing up for events, volunteering, joining new groups, you’re always giving yourself the potential for new opportunity. So, today on La.Rue, I want to talk about how & why it’s important to broaden those horizons. If you’re in school or recently graduated and you’re just on the path to launching your career, like I am with La.Rue, then right now is an important time to grow your network and really start building connections. Where do you start? In your past.
Network with People from your Past
Something I often think about is all of the people that have impacted my life in major ways. Something I like to do when I’m adventuring into a new endeavor, like when I was starting La.Rue, is make a list of some of the extraordinary people I’ve met throughout my life. People who have inspired me, educated me, and motivated me to push myself beyond my comfortable boundaries. I think we often forget what our network of people with who we’re already connected can offer us. So when I make this list, it helps to have these people to go to with questions, fears, or ideas. Remember that networking has a lot to do with people who know the people you know, so bridge the connections.
Once you’ve compiled your list of extraordinary people, set up some coffee dates or a zoom call. Share with this person what path you’re on right now. Maybe you need them for a reference or a resume overhaul, or interview practice. Remember to utilize your resources. The people you’re reaching out to are most likely seasoned in their careers and have years of experience with applications, interviews, career goals, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if they’re in the industry you’re looking to break into. This is the first step in putting your best foot forward in marketing yourself. When you’re marketing yourself to new people, you want your resume polished, interview skills clean, and everything cohesive.
Optimize Your Resources
Something many people fail to do when they are breaking into a new industry is utilizing the resources available to that industry. What do I mean? For example, as a new blogger and someone who is establishing and growing a lifestyle brand, I’m looking to meet well-established bloggers, get to know industry tips, and develop personal relationships with successful women in the industry. So how do I go about doing that? Well, as of now, there are hundreds of online courses, forums, webinars, and even virtually held summits that I can sign up for to hear success stories, tips, tricks, the works on what it’s like to be a blogger. Numerous industries have online resources available that can help you gain valuable insight and even meet important people.
Start by heading to Google or Linkedin and doing some research on virtual events in your industry. Start with anything free and open to the public, particularly events that offer Q&A’s or options to speak to people in the industry. This can help get valuable questions answered by people with years of experience. If this sounds too intimidating, start with something small, like listening to podcasts about the industry or reading a memoir or biography about someone successful in the industry. Always start somewhere where you can gain knowledge and insight on where you can begin your career. People have knowledge, and they want to share it with you.
Build Your Network
There are so many ways to build your network and meet new people today. I think a problem with my generation is that we rely on technology too much but don’t necessarily use it in ways that could benefit us. We have so many amazing opportunities at our disposal with technology. LinkedIn is an incredible resource for building your network. Simply reaching out to people in your industry, introducing yourself, asking a question or two, something like that can go a long way. Making an introduction is important. Putting your name out there, letting people know who you are, doesn’t just let them know your name, but it shows initiative and drive. A simple introduction goes a long way in reminding someone to watch out for you, think of you next time they are hiring, etc. They’ll remember your name the next time something comes up.
My honest recommendation is to start here. Build your network on LinkedIn. Post frequently to keep yourself and your name in front of your other connections and make sure you’re following all the relevant companies and leaders in your industry. Always add a note when you’re inviting someone to connect. Let them know who you are and why you’re interested in getting to know them. Whether they respond or not, your name is out there. They know who you are and that you have a passion for what you do, and that’s impressive. So get your LinkedIn up-to-date and resume up-to-par so that you’re putting your best foot forward and being prepared to network and market yourself. Your career, goals, and dreams are important, so building these connections will pay off in the long run.
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