How to Build Your Job Network
Understanding how to network is the key to building a strong, successful career. But what is it exactly? Networking, put simply, is meeting people and building relationships.
But networking isn’t always as simple as just that. Meeting people is great, but meeting the right people and understanding now certain connections can benefit you, in the long run, is key to successful networking.
Schools such as Montclair State University offer on-campus networking opportunities, small cohort sizes and connected, experienced faculty, to help you network while completing your MBA. Other options for networking include social media and city or alumni events, among others.
Know the Rules of Professional Networking
The rules of networking change depending on the circumstances. For example, if you’re at an in-person event at a restaurant or bar, don’t spend the whole evening hovering at the bar.
Here are some rules that can benefit you in any situation you may find yourself in:
- Treat people like people. Networking is about building relationships. The people you are talking to don’t want to feel like another pawn in your campaign to get to the top.
- Don’t throw your business card or resume at everyone. This feeds into number one, but this is just poor form on its own. Build strong relationships, not fleeting ones.
- Don’t forget to follow up. Building these relationships takes time. Following up makes sure that those relationships know that you are serious and professional. Make sure your follow-up doesn’t lack substance. You want them to remember you.
Enhance Your Networking Strategy
Some people are just more outgoing than others. They have no qualms in going up to the CEO of a company at a crowded event. Other people may not be so bold. They may thrive in online situations or small, more personal events. You know yourself better than anyone else. Figure out what networking type is best for you and research it. Take time to look into how you can utilize your networking style to benefit your career in the long run.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
Quality over quantity is a given in most situations. But what does it mean for networking? Rather than throwing your resume or business card at every person at an event, take your time to get to know the person. Building deep professional relationships can benefit you more in the long run than building superficial ones. Utilize networking within your workplace. Working in the same building (or in this day and age, the same zoom call) gives you the ability to build strong professional relationships over time. These are quality connections that you can use in the future.
Make time to build these professional relationships, maintain your network, and learn. Networking is extremely important while job searching and making a career change, but is also important for continued growth in your field. Taking the time to make these connections may not seem beneficial to you now, but in time, they will be. So specifically schedule those events into your calendar or get tickets to your favorite conference. Make the effort to get out of your office and into the world that surrounds your field.
Join Groups in Your Field
There is no better way to start networking in your chosen field than by attending and getting involved with networking events through a professional business organization or industry-specific event. For instance, someone switching from engineering to marketing will need to build a whole new network and utilizing marketing-specific organizations can help with that. These can be on a small, local scale all the way to large, nationwide events. Know your networking style and look at what organizations would be best suited for you in order to expand your network.
Utilize Social Media
Social media has changed the networking game. Now, people can connect through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other social media platforms out there. Utilize this interconnectivity to your advantage. Many alumni organizations have specific networking Facebook groups you can get involved in. The same goes for some professional organizations.
If you’re actively job searching, there’s also the research side of social media to keep in mind. LinkedIn and Twitter are treasure troves of recruiting information. Follow some of the recruitment-based accounts that the organization you’re interested in also follows and begin interacting with them by liking their updates, reposting their content, and work to build a rapport with them.
Go Back to School
For someone interested in changing or advancing their career, earning their MBA is a great way to start networking. Networking is a huge part of an MBA program. Not only do you gain an excellent knowledge base, but you’re exposed to a diverse cohort of people all interested in (or coming from) the same field that you are. Take finance, for example. Earning your MBA in Finance exposes you to a number of different professionals, all working toward a goal in the same field. By going back to school, you also have networking opportunities with your professors, with alumni, and with any speakers or alumni events that schools host.
Montclair State University, just outside of New York City in New Jersey, offers an online general MBA as well as six online specializations that will allow you to easily transition into a new career, or strengthen your current one while building a strong network. These programs are built for working professionals and are designed with flexibility in mind.
View any one of our MBA program pages and request information to learn more about Montclair State University’s online MBA program today.
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