When it comes to networking, there’s a lot to think about. It’s a game of taking risks, reaching out, asking questions, following up, and generally putting yourself out there, and it’s no wonder it’s a cause of stress for many jobseekers. But as Daily Muse writer and Create Content That Connects creator Amanda Berlin writes, it doesn’t have to be so daunting. The key is to remember three simple rules.
Berlin outlines them in a post titled “The Only 3 Networking Rules You Really Need to Know,” wherein she offers some excellent tips gleaned from fellow experts who know their stuff. First up, Berlin writes: “Network ‘clean.'” What does this mean? For many people, attending networking events can feel “dirty,” since you’re essentially making smalltalk with strangers in an effort to advance your career. Going “clean” means looking at new contacts as people — not simply means to an end.
“You want to look at everything from a ‘friendship-y’ point of view,” says networking mentor Marsha Shandur.
Second on Berlin’s list: “Own your value.” This basically means thinking about what makes you interesting and unique and going into conversations with your held high. Sure, you’re looking for career assistance, but you also bring things to the table, and as Masters of Networking author Cynthia Greenawalt writes, you don’t want to fall into a the “I hope you like me” mindset. As Berlin puts it, your mantra ought to be, “I am someone worth knowing.”
Lastly, Berlin recommends that you “Farm strategically.” That means you don’t approach folks randomly at a networking event. Think about where you’re looking to end up and who can get you there. Part of this strategy may entail asking for introductions to major movers and shakers in your field, but Berlin says you shouldn’t prolong relationships with people purely because they’re powerful. Ask yourself, “Am I into this person?” Berlin recommends, and if you feel it’s just not working, sever ties for the good of everyone involved.
When it is working, Berlin writes,”channel your energy into continuing to nourish and build the relationship.”