The concept of professional networking as a means of catapulting your career forward is becoming easier to access thanks to social media, but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating. Whether you’re a graduate who has just begun their job search or you’re well-established in your career, learning how to network is a talent that grows over time. Networking means putting yourself out there, and often in a room full of people you don’t know. It can be difficult to master the art of promoting your skills while simultaneously asking professionals to share some of their skills and knowledge. That’s why we spoke to an expert in networking to help us drill down the basics to get you started. 

In this Networking Q&A Webinar, Prepped partnered with Kelly Hoey, a professional networking expert, and author of Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World. Kelly educates job seekers on her modern approach to networking, and how to connect for success in the social media age. Some of the topics we covered include:

LinkedIn etiquette – Think of social media like “real life” networking rooms. The conversations are professional and business-oriented, and should not be mimicking the conversations you have on Snapchat or Instagram. Remember that you are reaching out to a human being, and you should remain authentic. Read more tips on how to use LinkedIn to get your next job.

Conversation starters – Building trust is the foundation of building a strong network. You have to be in the moment and mindful of the person you are speaking to versus asking questions quickly so you can get to the next person (and the next person, etc.) You also want to have a firm understanding of the theme or topic for the networking event you are attending so you can adjust your questions accordingly.    

Networking as an introvert – If a networking event relates to you and your interests, you should attend and challenge your social skills. It’s important to understand the value of a networking event and the “why” behind your decision to go. Being able to address these factors will help you set up the right frame of mind to remain engaged and focused on your goals. 

Creating long-lasting connections – It can be tricky to find new and creative ways to maintain contact with professionals you meet at networking events. Reaching out to acknowledge a promotion, work anniversary, or birthday is a great way to keep in touch without being overbearing. It’s important to remember that we all have busy lives, and you don’t have to stay in touch all the time. Be thoughtful in your approach.

Check out the full webinar recording below, where we expand on these topics and address more networking questions sent in by our users. And if you’re looking for free tools that can help you further improve your networking skills, sign up with Prepped and immediately gain access to resources that will help you grow your career.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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