Networking

Want to make tons of valuable connections and build a solid network? Of course you do! If you’re struggling to make more career friends and professional connections, you probably need to take a second look at your networking strategy. (Psst! Can’t get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) Are you making any of these mistakes?

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We’ve all been there, right? You connect with someone on LinkedIn, start a great conversation, and then when you reach out again, silence. You never hear from that person again. Ouch - looks like you got ghosted by a LinkedIn connection. (Psst! Can’t get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) Ghosting is when someone abruptly stops communicating with someone else, and it happens all of the time when it comes to online networking. But why did this happen to you? What went wrong? When you’ve been ghosted by a LinkedIn connection, a few things could have happened. Here are some reasons why they haven’t gotten back to you.

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When it comes to networking, what’s better: quantity or quality of connections? Is it better to have a large network of acquaintances or a small network of close colleagues? (Psst! Can't get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) While we suggest connecting with a variety of people when networking, it’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily about the quantity of your connections, but the quality of those relationships.

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In order to build a strong, strategic network, you need to nurture your connections. You need to show them some love. The best way to do that is to regularly offer value to your network. (Psst! Can't get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) Instead of going in with the attitude of, How can you help me?, you need to approach networking with the mindset of “How can we help each other?” You need to constantly think about how you can support your contacts. But how can you do that? How are you going to prove that you’re an awesome addition to their network? While it’s tempting to fall back on the ol’ line, “Let me know how I can help you,” it’s not always an effective way to offer your support to someone. Why? Because if someone doesn’t know how you can help them, they’re not going to ask. Or, they’re going to ask you for something you might not be able to offer. Instead, give them something to work with by being specific about what you can realistically offer them. Understand what they need in order to achieve their goals and then ask yourself, “How can I help this person reach his or her goals? What support, resources, or opportunities can I offer them?” Don’t worry - nurturing your network doesn’t have to be a huge hassle on your end. Here are some easy ways you can offer value to your connections:

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Today’s Work It Daily Challenge is to stop bailing on your plans. Don’t you hate it when you have plans with someone and they bail last minute? Isn’t it even worse when you KNOW they’re going to ditch you but they wait until the last minute to do it? You know how irritating that can be, but have you ever thought of how often YOU end up flaking out on plans? It’s easy to call others out when they don’t keep their promises, but when it comes to your own actions, you might not be aware of how much you cancel on others. Think about last week: did you keep all of your plans? How many cancellations did you make? Why did you end up canceling? Bailing on plans when there's an emergency is one thing. Flaking out because you just don't feel like doing it isn't necessarily a route you want to take too often. If you do this too much, people will stop relying on you. Or worse, stop inviting you to things altogether. Today, be more aware of both your professional and social obligations, and stop bailing on your plans. Unless there’s an emergency, force yourself to follow through with your promises. If you’re having a hard time doing this, you might be over-scheduling yourself. Before making plans, think about what you can realistically do this week. That way, instead of canceling plans, you simply don’t make them. This will make you feel more in control of your social and professional obligations, and less guilty about missing events. Plus, it will improve your social life and strengthen your network. What do you do to stop bailing on your plans? Let us know!

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