November 1, 2016
Whether you are preparing for or hoping to advance your career, the people who can guide and support you are critical to success. It’s called “networking,” but sometimes that term can be intimidating. Networking just means building your network and strengthening your relationships. As a confident sorority woman, that is something you’re already doing naturally.
Below are a few steps to build a strong network that will set you up for success when it is time to apply for graduate school, find a new job or advance your career!
1. Find a mentor. Develop a relationship with someone who is invested in your growth, whether it is a person in your chosen field or someone who can help you succeed in multiple areas of life. Seek someone out, maintain contact and learn from him or her.
2. Take advantage of conferences. If you attend conferences or other events centered on your profession, take advantage! Introduce yourself to others who can teach you something. Get to know peers in your field who might have a different perspective or idea. Share contact information and plan to collaborate in the future.
3. Follow-up. Whether it’s an email, phone call or thank you note, following up after an initial introduction is an important step in forming a lasting connection. When you work to maintain a relationship—even just expressing your appreciation after an interview—it is only going to solidify your relationship further and provide a natural opening if you would like to reach out to that person in the future.
4. Be mindful of your professional brand. No matter your professional aspirations, there is something unique about your style and the value you can add to an organization. Be aware of your strengths, and find ways to communicate them to those you with whom you come into contact.
5. Stay curious and authentic. Don’t feel pressured to say scripted things when meeting new people in your industry. Be curious about the work they do, why it’s their passion, what they have learned along the way, and what they see in the future for the field. Learn how you can be a part of that future. When you ask genuine questions, a connection will develop naturally. You might even learn something new!
Building your network doesn’t have to be scary. We all build relationships every day; networking just requires you to be intentional during that process. Want some more tips for making connections with others? Check out these five TED talks to help you network. Connect with Kappa Deltas on LinkedIn by joining our LinkedIn group.