Networking Dos and Don’ts
Networking is key to career growth, whether it be within or outside of your company. Networking builds connections and is a great way to market yourself to potential coworkers as well as employers.
Everyone seems to know that it’s important, but how do we network effectively? Jane Burnett suggests asking more interesting questions than the traditional ones. In her article 5 Ways to Get to Know Someone Without Using Cookie-Cutter Questions, Burnett gives some recommendations as to new questions to ask. Some of my favorites were “If your personality were one of the four seasons, which would it be?” and “Where did you grow up?”. What’s great about these questions is that they’re interesting, much more interesting than the classic “So what do you do?”. Further, these can almost always lead into discussing work-related topics, such as work style and ideal work environment, but in a much more interesting way.
Conversely, you don’t want to ask questions that get too personal. If it’s your first time meeting someone, avoid political and social questions. It’s a bit too forward to ask someone what their politics are in the first place, but it’s even more forward to discuss that in a work environment. Try to stick to “neutral” questions with the person or people you’re networking with. Also, be sure to read their body language and hear what they’re saying (or not saying). If someone appears uncomfortable, or is clearly trying to change the subject, don’t keep pushing it.
At Contemporaries, we network all the time and know how important it is for one’s career. Making connections at the job Contemporaries has placed you on will benefit your career immensely!