In your years of school and working as a professional, how many times have you thrown around the term, “networking?” What does this even normally entail? Where do these events take place? Think about the redundancy of events you’re imagining and how effective they’ve really been in elevating your career. I’m not saying this traditional approach to getting your name out there doesn’t work, but for some, there are some less conventional ways to network.
Not every approach needs to be strategically planned. Networking isn’t a hunt to find someone in the highest position of a company to attack with a resume recital. At the end of the day, we are not robots—people want to talk to people. Networking should be more about connecting rather than impressing. With that said, try not talking about the latest article from Business Insider. Enjoy a drink and some small talk. Who knows, you may end up making a friend in the process, and a friend is a far better connection than a colleague, peer, acquaintance, etc.
Don’t Stress Over Fitting a Mold
In the business world, there are countless widely believed, made-up guidelines professionals feel the need to follow on a daily basis: cover your one-inch tattoo you got on your wrist in college, only wear neutral colors, etc. It’s much harder to stand out when you’re trying to mimic every other cubicle-dwelling clone in Corporate America. If you truly want to stand out amongst other professionals, spice it up! Get creative with your wardrobe, speak up, crack a joke, and have fun from time to time.
Even though being able to comfortably interact and socialize in person is crucial, being able to effectively market yourself to the digital world is becoming increasingly more important every day. The first step is to create your social profiles, which could vary depending on your line of work. Ideally, you should have a professional page on most popular sites such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe Facebook, but your efforts could be focused depending on your line of work. For creativepreneurs, you may focus more heavily on your Instagram activity. Twitter and LinkedIn are rather useful for professionals trying to grow in more specific industries i.e. oil and gas, medicine, finance, etc. No matter what you do, anything published on the Internet is an extension of you as both a person and a professional, and this digital world is saturated. Make sure your content is interesting and relevant enough for other professionals to connect with—take advantage of having a global audience!
We are marketing every day: our businesses, our ideas, and ourselves. It’s not necessarily rocket science, either. Just be yourself, have some fun, and be confident when you network in order to stand out among the plain Janes and Johns out there.