Professional networking is an essential skill for everyone to master.  You have set goals for yourself and worked tirelessly to hone the skills you need to do your job.  You know that you have a lot to offer employers, co-workers and customers.  But in order to advance in your career, you need to know the best ways to convey those skills and that knowledge to others through professional networking.  This blog covers a few of the ways you can be really effective at selling yourself and your vision.

Put Yourself Out There

We all know that networking can be something to dread.  Particularly for introverted people, it can be difficult to put yourself out there and have a conversation with someone you don’t know well.  There are a few ways to overcome that reticence and really shine when networking.  Start with being an active listener.  You want to talk about yourself, your skills, your experience but so do the people you are networking with.  Show an interest in what they have to offer and you can find out what you have to offer them.  Find out what products and services their company has to offer, how they set themselves apart from their competition, who their clients are and who makes the important decisions at their company.  Knowing those things helps you get across what you have to offer them.

Be Strategic

Be thoughtful and evaluate both the events you attend and the contacts you make while you network.  Be sure to follow-up with important contacts and look for ways (like a one-on-one lunch) that you can further develop a new contact.  Be open to getting out there and trying new things like that cooking class you’ve been thinking of taking because there are networking opportunities in unexpected places.  Work on your pitch so that you are always ready to talk about what you do and what you have to offer.

Be Memorable

Don’t overlook the things that make you unique and memorable.  You never know when a shared passion for a cause or hobby you have in common might spark a real connection with a new networking contact.  It’s important to behave professionally while networking but you also need to show off your personality in a positive way and avoid being bland and forgettable.

Don’t Forget Online

You can’t overlook the importance of networking online.  With a variety of websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, it is important to maintain a professional digital presence. Craft a profile that demonstrates your professional achievements and use websites like LinkedIn and Facebook to show that you keep up with advancements and current developments in your field.  Offer your own thoughtful analysis of those developments.  Be a careful curator of your own content on these websites.  Never post pictures, personal or professional stories, memes, or share content from other people that would reflect poorly on your own judgment or professionalism.

Are you looking for the next step in your career?

For more tips on how to up your professional networking game, connect with the recruiting experts at US PRO today.

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