Professional Networking Done Purposefully & Powerfully

Posted by Avanti Women May 17, 2018
Avanti Women Tips for Successful Professional Networking

An impressive educational background with fancy letters behind your name and oodles of "real-life" work experience won't assure you first dibs at your dream job.

These days, when it comes to snagging meaningful employment, what you know seems to hold much less weight than who you know.   |

According to a recent survey 85% of jobs are filled through networking and, in fact, 70% of jobs are never listed publicly, so working your social networks is imperative to building a meaningful career that won't become stagnant. 
My, how times have changed!   
An article published by Mashable, a global go-to source for technology and digital culture, points out that professional networking has been made exponentially easier with social media. 
"Years ago, networking meant asking a friend at another company to submit your resume to his HR department—a particularly assertive person might have been able to cold-call his way into lunch with a head honcho," the author explains. 
"Now, networking means having the ability to tap into hundreds of relevant connections with just the click of a button."

6 Tips on How to Leverage your Social Network to Grow your Brand 
Several Avanti Women Advisory Board members have honed their personal online brands and worked their social networks to surpass their professional peaks. Check out their LinkedIn profiles and read their advice for converting online connections into personal brand ambassadors. 

1) Don't be afraid to ask for input or thoughts from your network
Dina, Avanti Women founder and President and Chief Learning Officer at The Talent Consortium, advised that it is vital to follow up with people you meet at live networking events within 48 hours by adding them on LinkedIn or sending an email. She also emphasized the importance of being clear about what you want.
"Don't be afraid to ask," she said. "Whether you are looking to grow your business or start a new profession, tell people about it and ask for their input or thoughts to how to get there."

2) Don't be shy about reaching out to your network to ask for help
Sandy is our Sponsorship Committee Lead and believes in the power of online networking to enhance one's career. "LinkedIn is a very helpful professional networking tool - learn how to use it, build it, and work the search features to confirm where possible networking connections might be," she advised. "And don't be shy about reaching out. I believe that anyone is ready to help, if you let them know how."

3) Share useful information with your network and stay connected
Kelly, our Digital Marketing expert and the Owner of Snapdragon Marketing Service, said that being open and active about helping others first before asking for help is a winning formula for gaining and maintaining network connections.   
"Be a resource to people," she advised, "Share useful information with your network, and stay connected by sending messages or even an email to stay top of mind."

4) Focus on strengthening your relationships and find ways to demonstrate your leadership
Alison, our Operations and Business Development Lead and also VP Sales and Marketing at Amhil North America, explained that focusing on strengthening relationships with those that can help with your career is of utmost importance.   
She also recommended demonstrating your leadership by a"starting your own networking group on LinkedIn, or other social networks."
5) Leave the work out of networking
Myriam, our Operations Advisor, recommended leaving the work out of networking.  "Treat people as potential friends, find something in common and make genuine connections to build an authentic relationship," she said.

6) Practice active listening and ask questions
Kate, our Governance Advisor and Senior VP and Regional General Manager at Just Energy, recommended displaying genuine interest in people. "I talk to everyone and practice active listening and asking questions," she said. "You just never know where you are going to meet that next amazing person."

If you missed our Webinar-on-Demand recording of Dina sharing her networking know-how, check it out here.
This article was contributed by Avanti Women volunteer Trisha Richards. Trisha is a business communicator, writer, and marketer in Toronto. Connect with her through her website:  

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