Think you don’t have time to network? Think again.
Are you looking for your next challenge? Are you stagnating in an unfulfilling job? Do you need some guidance from an expert in your field? You are not alone. There are an endless number of members out there to help you move forward. All you have to do is ask.
On the surface, networking can feel like a challenge. Where do you begin? What do you say? How do you make the time to make the connections? In this article, I offer three simple tips to get you started and keep you moving as you grow your network and build a rewarding and fulfilling career.
Tip #1: Make micro-commitments to build your network
Rome wasn't built overnight, and neither will your network. You don't have to lift massive boulders to be successful, you just need to make micro-commitments and do something every day. Reach out to a single new person on LinkedIn or ThetaConnect, attend one new networking event a month, reconnect with a contact from a past job or school. Make the commitment so small that you can’t argue your way out of following through. Do it and then commit to doing it just one more time. Every day. Rinse and repeat. Small actions compound over time to deliver big results, and the same thing happens when you build your network this way.
Tip #2: Always have both an ASK and an OFFER
Does it make you uncomfortable to ask for help? Don’t be. Seasoned networkers understand the balance of having both an ASK and an OFFER. When you make your ask, always have something to offer the other person, even if they don't expect it. Do your research before you reach out. Know who the person is and what matters to them. Then think about how you can help them. The ability to help will make you look like a networking pro. When you do make your ask, make it something lightweight, something easy for them to do. An email introduction. A LinkedIn recommendation. Most people are happy to help, but you have to make it simple for them first.
Tip #3: Leverage your existing networks
One of the fastest ways to get leverage and expand your network is to build it on the backs of giants. You’ve got a head start when you tap into an existing network, and you likely already have access to so many. Shared hobbies and interests, school alumni groups, sports teams, and company alumni groups (for big companies) are filled with people who can advise and support you. Connecting with people you have something in common with lowers the barrier to connect and makes it easier.
As a Theta, ThetaConnect is one of the most robust networks for you to activate and it’s right at your fingertips. With the Theta community, you have a shared history, interests, and aspirations. ThetaConnect offers a deep alumnae platform, databases, and forums with people inside and outside your field. Plus, it's always fun to reconnect with your sisters.
You can do this. Even if you don’t think you have the time or know-how, it is easier than you think. Right now, make the commitment that you will take the micro-steps to build your network. What’s the first step you need to take to get going? Write that down and then give yourself a deadline to get it done and then commit to it.