Simple Ways to Build Your Network


Personal Branding for Everyday People Tip #5:
Respect Your Network

What do bus drivers, janitors, accountants, high school students, and business owners have in common?  They all have networks.

And you have one, too.  Actually, you probably have more than one network – connections you’ve met through your work, school, social groups, etc. all create separate networks of people you know.

People in any of your networks can help you to find a job or advance in your career.  How you communicate with your contacts, and whom you choose to connect with, says a lot about your personal brand.

What is networking?
A simple definition of networking is this: It’s talking with people with interests or goals like yours in the hopes of mutually assisting each other.

Think of the last time you needed to find a good car mechanic, or hairdresser, or a nice restaurant. You probably asked people you know for recommendations. That’s networking.  It’s just having conversations with people in the hopes of getting useful information.

Whether you are networking with a good friend or a business contact you just met, you will get the best results when you are polite, respectful, and aware of the other person’s needs and interests.

Who is in your network?
Do you remember the classic “Sesame Street” song “Who are the People in Your Neighborhood?”

Now it’s time to start singing “Who are the People in Your Network,” because some of your contacts are the people who you meet each day.

Don’t just think of former and current coworkers or supervisors. Your networking contacts are everyday people in varied roles.

  • Your family members
  • Your friends and their families
  • Classmates from high school and college
  • Your former teachers and professors
  • Members of your religious organization
  • Parents of your children’s friends
  • Staff and volunteers of community organizations

Your Move:

1.      Make a list of all potential networking contacts. Think of the best way to contact them.

2.      Next, send information that might be helpful or interesting to them.

3.      Then tell them a little about your career situation and ask for their help. It’s best to be specific when asking them to do something for you.

4.      Remember to thank them and offer to help them in return.

 

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