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Submitted by Shafiyq Hinton

Investor and Self-Help Author Robert Kiyosaki said it best, “If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.” Networking and the old cliché, “It’s not who you know, but what you know,” seems to be one of the most pivotal driving forces in one’s career/life endeavors.

In our society, we are constantly networking. Social media has allowed us to reach out, follow, tweet and learn about anyone. We also network on a personal level through professional channels and organizations like PRSA, the National Sales Network, and fraternities and sororities. We all have our reasons for joining different networks of people. But, we do always join a network with people that we relate to.

As mentioned earlier, we are constantly networking. But where we tend to drop the ball is in network management. Here are a few tips:

Have realistic expectations.  Just because you join a professional organization that does not mean you punched the ticket to launch your career in the field of your choice.

Talk to everyone. Do not ASSUME. Having conversations gives you several different perspectives of an industry or topic. You never know what you will learn, and you never know how you can leverage that conversation in say… an interview.

Have an elevator pitch.  When introducing yourself, first impressions are key. When you have a short elevator pitch this helps highlight who you are and why you are at the event.

Manage your contacts. When networking you will meet a lot of people. It is important that you identify the contacts that can have an immediate impact. These are the people you should spend the most time with. BUT, do not forget about everyone else you met. Be sure to keep in contact. Check in from time to time and update them on your progression. This is key for people who are green and looking to break into the industry.

Don’t be a t-shirt wearer. We joined these organizations and networks for a reason. Get involved. Volunteer. Get noticed. Build your reputation.

Networking is key. But like any and everything else, it’s what you make it. Give these tips a try. See what you think!

–Industry News