Take the “work” out of networking…

April 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm 2 comments

Aaron Brost

It has been widely said that it’s not what you know, but who you know that makes the difference.   And, if you think about it, you likely know more people than you think, especially considering the rise of social networking sites.   For many, networking can seem like a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be.

I’ve found that simply keeping people in your network informed of your goal is a great start.  When you’re top of mind, people will remember you as they hear of potential opportunities.  But, you can’t only rely on someone else to make a connection for you.  You must be proactive and strategic in building your network.

Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Make a list of everyone you know and who they know via social networks like LinkedIn.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone to make an introduction
  • Be sure to do your research when meeting someone for the first time – both about the individual and the company they represent
  • Make a specific ask and communicate your end goal
  • Follow through on all referrals
  • If you have difficulty getting started, consider joining a professional development organization like PRSA

Many people network only when it becomes a necessity, but networking must be an ongoing process even when you’re employed, because tomorrow you might not be.  Similar to the relationships you build with key  reporters, it’s easier to speak with someone you’ve previously pitched than to make a cold call.

Finally, remember that networking isn’t all about you.  Make sure to ask people how you can help them.  Adopt a ‘pay it forward’ philosophy and surround yourself with people who do the same.   In the end, it will pay dividends.

–Aaron Brost is the president of Ro-Bro Marketing & Public Relations, based in Chicago, Illinois.

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Entry filed under: Professional Networking.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie  |  April 7, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Aaron,
    So impressed-your tips will help me in my new career! Love it!
    Thanks for your professionalism but always your down to earth approach. You have the secret!
    Julie

    Reply
  • 2. Luci  |  April 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Great tips! I think another good rule of networking is to never rule anyone out. If you have a chance to sit down and chat with someone who isn’t in your desired field, still take the time to get to know them! You never know who THEY might know.

    Reply

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