3 Simple Ways to Master the Art of Networking

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At a young age, I discovered that having connections could be a vital key to success. When I applied to my first job, I nailed my interview and began working in retail. I was immensely proud of this accomplishment. That is, until I realized that friends of mine were also getting jobs too, but they didn't have to go through the same pricing process as I did. This was due to the fact that they had connections at these companies or organizations. That, my friends, is how I learned first-hand about the importance of networking. Over the years, I realized that the importance of networking would never change. Making professional connections is important because these connections open doors to new opportunities, create working relationships, and enhance your professional reputation.

Here are 3 simple ways to step up your networking game:

LinkedIn It's a no-brainer. Social media is changing the way we live and work. Since many people use social media, there's a good chance that anyone you meet at a job interview, convention, seminar, or meeting is also on LinkedIn. Simply ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn. Building connections on LinkedIn is a simple way to keep the door open for communication in case a great opportunity arises.

Find a Mentor Mentors are a great resource to have at any stage of your career. You learn from their mistakes, find out what path got them to where they are today, and you always have somebody rooting for you. Since your mentor has been in the industry longer than you, there's a good chance that you'll come across their contacts, and you'll be able to make new connections through your mentor. Ask to tag along for work events, and be prepared to put your best foot forward.

Always Carry a Business Card You never know when you'll need one. What if you unexpectedly meet a CEO or executive from an amazing company, and they ask for your business card? It'd be embarrassing to pretend to be out of business cards or worse--to scribble your number for them. Always carry a few business cards in your wallet. That way, it'll be easy for you to pass along your contact information, and it'll leave the lasting impression that you are, in fact, a professional.

Networking can be intimidating especially if it's with industry leaders. The key is to successful networking is to always be confident, professional, and kind. Be patient, keep networking, and you'll be able to get your name out there and build a reputation for yourself.

What do you think is the key to successful networking? Sound off in the comments below.

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