People talk a lot about utilizing their networks and working their contacts, but nobody talks about the process in asking someone to take the time and help or assist others in a non-personal way. With busy work schedules and a pandemic, this simple task can become less than quick. And to top it off, if you’ve asked in the past for a professional favor or guidance, it’s frowned upon to ask again.
So how do we change this feeling of utilizing networking leads without being obnoxious or pushy? Here are some things to keep in mind when asking your community about career advice or help:
Create both a personal and professional connection
Nobody likes to feel “used.” Not that networking looked at as using others, but it’s certainly a form of using your resources. Make the other person feel that you’re not just reaching out for a specific thing, but that you admire them and your connection on a more personal level. Make that person feel how you’d want to if someone came to you asking for professional help.
Extend an invite to an upcoming event
Try to focus on that connection and invite them to an event you’ll be attending. Show you’re interested in connecting in both a social and professional setting. Share with them an event they’d be interested in, perhaps within their industry or something that was discussed in your initial conversation. This will show you’re just as resourceful as they are and are willing to share networking opportunities.
Connect on social media platforms
Social media is the best way to connect with others virtually. LinkedIn is the best platform to connect professionally with others looking to explore potential clients, contacts, and new possibilities. This makes for an initial outreach less random and more intentional after meeting someone in-person or online and looking to connect afterwards.
Follow-up and show your gratitude
After reaching out and receiving back what you were looking for, let the person know what happened next. Did you set-up a meeting with that potential client? Did you ask for that raise? Maybe you changed career paths and are taking online courses now? What that person did for you can create a stronger bond and leave the door open for the future. Show your appreciation towards them by sending flowers or a gift card. A follow-up can go a long way, make the other person feel they were of value to you and your future.
These types of tips can help when making connections both in-person or virtually. Whenever you are in a networking environment and take full advantage of who’s there, keynote speakers, topic of discussions, etc. These areas will broaden your reach and help connect you to the right people.
Networking leads can feel like you’re taking advantage of the system or only looking to get past the necessary steps, but the truth is, everyone at some point in their professional journeys can relate to you in that moment. Being a resource to others is going the extra mile but can help someone else’s career. Paying it forward is something to think about after you’ve hit your milestone or career goals. Remember where you are and how you feel now and think of all the things you’ve had to overcome to get there. Sharing those tips to someone in need can create a path they never knew they could go down.
Resources are extremely important when looking for networking leads. How to get those resources can also be tricky. Joining a community of like-minded people is certainly a place for those in need of resources to help them grow within their careers that may be looking for a place to start. If you're looking to join a community for networking opportunities, check out Luminary for available programs and events that uplift, up-skill, and propel others forward through all phases of both their personal and professional journeys.
A first-of-its-kind, Luminary is a membership-based global professional growth platform and collaboration hub created for women and male allies to address the systemic challenges impacting women across all industries and sectors. The ultimate career advocate, Luminary provides “real world” advice, tools, and resources to advance, build, connect, and develop through programming and networking opportunities.
With no application process, Luminary is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We invite you to come sit at our table because we are all in this together!