Even the most talented candidates will struggle without the power of a strong network that can introduce them to new opportunities and connect them to the right people.
In a 2011 interview with Fast Company, former PayPal executive and founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, shares an important message about relationships and the concept of your “network”:
“Your network is the people who want to help you, and you want to help them, and that’s really powerful.”
It’s a reciprocal relationship that has fed the careers of every successful entrepreneur from Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates.
But in today’s increasingly digitized world, the habits of a successful networker have changed. Instead of collecting business cards and attending cocktail hours, networking now largely occurs online in the form of “likes” and shares or connecting on the very platform Hoffman created.
Keeping up with current networking trends can be hard to do, and that’s why the Paysa team has put together this post that shares the five habits of top networkers.
#1. Focus on Meaningful Engagements on Social Media
With 78 percent of the U.S. population now on social media, there’s no better place to stay engaged than on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and of course, LinkedIn.
But what does it actually mean to “engage” on social media?
It’s a bit more than you think.
It’s easy to go on a “like” blitz or retweet everything that shows up in your Twitter feed. But offering meaningful engagements undoubtedly takes more time and thought on your part.
Think of it like a “quality over quantity” approach. Instead of commenting something generic like “Great post!” on every article shared on LinkedIn, carve out twenty minutes in the morning to find two articles you really connect with and do the following:
- Comment on the post offering a sincere “thank you” to the author and a quick note explaining why you connected with their post.
- Share the post out with a summary of your take on the subject addressed. Make sure to conclude with a question to provoke further discussion in the comments on your share.
Will you inevitably interact with fewer people online each day? Sure, but those interactions you do have will no doubt be more meaningful and memorable.
#2. Seek Out Opportunities to Be Helpful
In a world where most people look at a situation and say “what’s in it for me?” here’s a chance to do something a bit different and ask: How can I help someone without any expectations of them helping me back?
To be clear, we’re not talking about the sorts of grand, sweeping gestures that will get you on the five o’clock news (though those are totally awesome if you feel so inclined).
Instead, think about little ways you can help someone in less than sixty seconds.
Here’s an example: You find out through a friend that a developer you worked with in the past, unfortunately, lost his job when the startup he worked for went belly up. Now, maybe you happen to know some companies with open tech jobs and can help facilitate an introduction. That’s great, but let’s assume you don’t know of any opportunities off-hand. What’s an easy way where you can still help your former colleague?
Maybe you run a quick search on Paysa to find any open developer jobs, and then email the link over to them with an offer to act as a reference on their resume. Running a search like that can take you under 30 seconds, and the gesture goes a long way.
#3. Don’t Be Afraid to Share the Things that Work for You
Creating your own content—whether it be a personal blog or something as simple as a Facebook update—means you’re putting your thoughts and ideas out there for others to see. And for some, that can feel intimidating. You might fear being judged or ridiculed, but here’s the thing:
People overwhelming support and appreciate vulnerability. And while you might not think of sharing a recent book you read and loved as being vulnerable, it really is a modern example of just that.
When you share something online, you are offering a line of sight into your life that has huge potential to positively impact those around you. And much like those 60-second favors mentioned earlier, these little nuggets of insight can attract and solidify a strong network of like-minded people.
Here are a few ideas of things you should consider sharing:
- Books, podcasts, CDs, TED Talks and anything else that has inspired you lately.
- Quotes that you think do a great job of hitting some important aspect of business or personal life.
- Articles you’ve read that changed the way you’re approaching life (hint: this might be a good one to start with).
- Real-life experiences that have taught you an important lesson.
These are just a few ideas, here are 50 more.
#4. Get Creative in Your Outreach
One great example of creative networking comes from this post on Hubspot:
Everyone sends cards to people in their personal and professional networks around the holidays. So, to stand out from the pack, the author’s dad started sending out St. Patrick’s Day cards. The idea probably gave everyone who received one a good chuckle, and he never had to worry about getting lost in a pile of similar cards.
The point is, try to find a creative way to differentiate your approach. That might mean a unique subject line in your emails or some unique gift that you send to people on their birthdays. Whatever your approach, try to make it unique to you.
#5 is an important one: Don’t hide behind your computer.
Believe it or not, whether your goal is to connect to new tech jobs, find new leads, or simply make some friends, getting out and meeting people face-to-face can do wonders for you.