Building a strong network is essential. Along with giving you resources when you need guidance, solid connections can open doorways, making it easier to further your career. However, the members of your network will only provide that much value if they’re more than basic connections; you need to make sure relationships are authentic and meaningful.
Fortunately, turning networking contacts into genuine relationships isn’t as challenging as it often seems. Here are five tips to get you moving in the right direction.
1. Prioritize the Initial Follow-Up
After meeting someone new, some professionals are hesitant to be the one to reach out first. Some people worry about being a bother or doubt whether the connection is as meaningful to the other person as it is to them. The issue is that not reaching out leaves the relationship in the other person’s hands, and they may experience the same hesitance, causing a potentially valuable connection to simply not manifest.
Instead of leaving it to the other person, prioritize the initial follow-up and take ownership of that activity. Even a short message through a social media platform is enough to prevent the relationship from failing to launch, so feel free to keep it short and simple as a means of getting the ball rolling.
2. Identify the Common Ground
Cultivating a meaningful relationship is much easier when there’s some common ground. Consider what passions, perspectives, or goals you share with the other person, even if they don’t relate to your current position. The idea is to find places where you can connect, allowing the relationship to grow. By doing so, you can have memorable discussions that make the connection stronger. Then, after the relationship is solid, you can focus on identifying the value-add.
3. Follow Through on Suggestions
If the other person gave you a suggestion that was meant to boost your career or benefit you in another way, follow through with it. You’re demonstrating trust by heading their advice and circling back after you do. Essentially, by respecting their opinion and exploring their recommendation, you’re showing that you value their perspective, which can work wonders when trying to strengthen a relationship.
4. Offer Your Support
For many professionals, the goal of networking is to forge connections with someone who can elevate their career. However, you don’t necessarily want to start asking for help if the relationship isn’t solid enough to handle the request. Instead, find opportunities when you can offer your support to your new contact. By providing them with assistance, it shows you’re not just in it for you, making them far more likely to assist with your requests when you present one.
5. Show Appreciation
Expressing gratitude to a contact when they extend themselves for your benefit is essential if you want a stronger relationship. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and most are hurt if they feel taken advantage of by a new contact. By saying, “thank you” whenever your contact tries to support you, you’re ensuring the latter doesn’t happen, all while strengthening your bond.
Contact Us Today!
Ultimately, the tips above can help you turn your networking contacts into real relationships, making those connections more valuable. If you’d like to learn more or are interested in connecting with a recruiter during your next job search, Selectek wants to hear from you. Contact us and speak with one of our recruiters today.