Network and advance you way all the way to the top, or at least your next promotion.
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How To Network And Advance Your Career

If the era of the great resignation has taught us anything, good jobs and even better opportunities are getting harder and harder to find. Sure, all of those resignations have left roles to be filled. But are they worth filling? Most open positions are only available because someone has quit searching for something better.

Also, due to the staggering amount of resignations, businesses have had to rethink how they operate and are turning to ever-evolving technology to automate many roles that previously existed. So now, those less skilled roles, once a way to get your foot in the door, are getting increasingly scarce. This has made the good opportunities that do exist very competitive. But all is not lost. We here at Skillset maintain a positive outlook no matter what, so as Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” So if you are looking for an opportunity, we are here to help and teach you how to network & advance your career so that you will have a leg up on the competition.

How do you find that next great job opportunity? Then, most importantly, how do you make the most of it once you get it? Let’s dig in.

Network, Network, Network

You have heard the saying, “it is not what you know, but who you know,” right? This could not be more true. We are the result of the people we spend time with. Everything we accomplish or don’t accomplish is the result of our environment. Career networking and building good solid relationships are important in helping you successfully find your next great opportunity. Those connections broaden your reach, as well as your job referral opportunities.

Networking with digital platforms like LinkedIn is a great way to advance your career in the workplace.
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Embrace LinkedIn

I know what seems like yet another social network to waste your time on can be your digital resume and how to network & advance your career. Silly, I know, but these are the times we live in. So make sure that you update your LinkedIn profile and have a little fun with it. Sure, add your work and education history but also put a bit of your personality on display. I assure you that prospective employers and new colleagues you meet will be looking at it, so you want to make a good impression. Plus, if you genuinely are an introvert. It is a great way to digitally meet people in similar fields of work or find different online networking groups. If you are looking for that next job opportunity, it is definitely worth your time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Put Yourself Out There

Does the thought of meeting new people terrify you? Don’t worry. Networking is a skill that even the most introverted person can learn. The trick that I am going to share with you is. Wait for it. Be yourself, in a professional way, of course. I know, I know. It seems simple but try it. You don’t want to be someone you aren’t. You will get found out eventually, which wastes a lot of energy. Sure, you may not be everyone’s cup of tea, which is fine. The key is putting yourself out there at events & online, and you will continue to find your tribe of people to make solid connections with.

In today's workforce, it's essential to know how to network & advance your career so that you will have a leg up on the competition.
(Photo by iStock Photo)

How To Network And Advance Your Career

Networking events can be overwhelming, I know. But they don’t have to be. Because truthfully, the core of networking is still a human connection. Also, I guarantee that with any nervousness you feel about having conversations with new people, most of the other people in that room have the same nerves. Here are some tips to help make every career networking event a success:

● Make sure you have a quick 15-30 second pitch to introduce yourself dialed in

● Talk to new people. Again, they are probably nervous as well

● Confidence is key. You are awesome, own that

● Be authentic. We are going to keep stressing this

● Ask open-ended questions and listen. People like to feel heard

● Try to find common interests or something to strike a bond over

● Don’t linger by the entrance; it’s a terrible spot to meet people

● Wait in line for food or drinks. It is a great place to strike up a casual non-forced conversation

● Keep an eye out for ways to provide value in the conversation via intros to others in your network or potential skills you could offer to help. Give to get

● Make sure your business card is memorable

● Do your best to remember names (this one is so hard)

● Stay connected after the event (hello LinkedIn, also the follow-up email is a nice touch)

● Rinse, repeat and watch your confidence and career opportunities grow

You Got the Job

So now that you have mastered networking, the opportunities started rolling in, and you landed a great job. Now what? Is that it? You just ride off into the sunset? No. Now you want to continue to advance your career. But how? What does that look like? Start by defining what you feel success looks like for you in your career. Is it money? Role? Work-life balance? Think about what is important to you and put together your career roadmap. 

This will help you define your goals to get where you want to be and the milestones you need to cross. Once you have your career roadmap, be open about it with your superiors. They will appreciate the initiative. You know the saying, “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” This whole article is about putting yourself out there. This holds in every aspect of your career and life. 

Also, this should go without saying, but work your ass off. You didn’t have all of those awkward conversations for nothing. So perform and let your intentions of advancing your career be known, and continue seeking feedback on how to get where you want to be.

If it is not at your current employer, well, that is why you built your network.

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