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13 2010

Becoming Connected: Your Network = Your Net Worth

Syndicated from: Your Remarkable Brand - Roz Usheroff

Whether you are looking for a job or not, it’s in your best interest to continuously network, promoting yourself and your expertise to management, peers and those in positions to champion you. This lays the groundwork for your next career move, and it distinguishes you from your competition. Ultimately, the purpose of networking is: * To gather information about a particular industry, business or career position in which you are interested * To broaden your professional network beyond the people you know to the people that they know * To build relationships that bring you pleasure Your Success will depend on your interpersonal skills. Build your network by making a list of everyone you need to know or know better internally and those within your industry. Trace old colleagues who could toot your horn to others. How you approach your network contact depends upon how well you know the person. If you know them, come right out and say you are investigating professional opportunities in a particular industry. Tell the person that you’d appreciate the opportunity to get together over coffee for an information session and perhaps to seek advice. If the person suggests breakfast or lunch, all the better. But start small so you don’t give the impression you are going to monopolize their time. Before your meeting, find out something about the person’s recent achievements such as a promotion or an important new client. If you can’t speak specifically about the person, know something positive about the company he/she works for. Above all, treat the person as your guest. When you assume host behavior, you will naturally project greater confidence and warmth. After a few minutes of small talk, start with your “30-second commercial” about yourself. Relate your area of expertise and what would make you valuable to another company. Be brief, direct and to the point. If you are uncomfortable talking about your strengths, try third-party testimonials from your customers, your colleagues or your boss. For example, “My employer has said that I have made a valuable contribution in ….” or “My staff tells me that they appreciate my ability to coach and develop them for higher positions.” Remember to follow up your meeting with a Thank You note. If in the course of your discussion you learn something about the person – she is an avid golfer or he collects art – be on the lookout for interesting articles to forward them occasionally. Or, if you read something related to their job or industry, send that along. This is an excellent way to refresh their memory about you. And lastly, return the favor. Book time to make a difference to others. Give the gift of mentorship. The old adage of “what goes around comes around” has never been more apparent than in these competitive times.

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