Networking takes making connections and brings it into the realm of building relationships. 

Studies show that 60 - 80% of all job offers are the direct result of networking. The job market is tough and who you know can make the difference in getting the job that you want. 

Take Action:

Download the self-reflection profile to help you maximize your networking opportunities. Give yourself a 10 if you consistently do the behaviors on the left. Give yourself a 1 if you consistently do the behaviors on the right. If you’re somewhere in the middle, give yourself the appropriate number on the continuum. 

Download the self-reflection profile

Scoring:  Add the subtotals from the three question sets above to arrive at your overall score.

110 – 140:  Networking Ninja
You clearly capitalize on networking opportunities and make the most of each experience. You enjoy a good “give and take” during conversations and strive to build authentic connections that can produce mutual benefit. You recognize the importance of planning for and following up after networking events and consistently prepare for events so you can put your best foot forward. You are engaged and engaging during conversations and leave a good impression with those you meet. This will help position you for future success. Keep up the good work!

80 – 109:  Socially Savvy 
You handle networking situations pretty well. You may rely on your social skills to compensate for being a little light on preparation. It is good to be able to think on your feet during an event, but with a little more preparation and effort, you can build relationships rather than just amassing connections. Be clear to communicate who you are and the value you bring. Engage in valuable conversations to learn about others and identify potential opportunities that are in line with your goals. Networking is a two-way street, so be prepared to give and get what you need.

50 – 79:  Networking Novice
Your score is about average as a networker. Now is your chance to move up in the ranks. Make the most of each event you attend by polishing your professional presence and your ability to share the story of what makes you relevant and unique. Seize the moment and capitalize on opportunities to engage with others. Prepare yourself with a solid elevator pitch, a professional outfit, and a few good questions so that you can confidently grasp opportunities to network. If you can get to a 9 or 10 on each of the items above, you’ll be well on your way to building and maintaining a strong network that can help you achieve your career goals. 

Below 50:  Social Slacker
What are you waiting for? Do not miss out on opportunities by underestimating the power of a strong network. Networking should be a planned and ongoing effort. Do your homework; know your audience; and identify people you want to meet. Arrive on time and dress appropriately for the situation. If you are going to a career fair or a company-hosted event, do your research ahead of time so you are prepared. 

When you are at an event, make sure that there is a give and take in the interaction. Showing interest in what the other person has to say will make them more interested in listening to you. One of the main goals of networking is to find a human connection that can spark a memorable conversation. Sharing interests can help form connections and open the doors to a deeper conversation. 

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and strive to meet new people. Afterward, make sure to stay connected by exchanging cards or connecting on LinkedIn after the event. Keeping connections alive and building real relationships can positively impact your life and career opportunities over time.

No matter where you fall on the networking scale, the most important thing to remember is to be REAL: 

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Relevant:  Think about the perspective of the other person you’re speaking with.  What would make them interested in learning more about you?

Expressive:  People want to hear, see, and “feel” who you are.  Get them excited about you.

Authentic:  It’s important for you to be true to who you are.  It’s exhausting to be inauthentic.  You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you’ve gotten a job because of a mask you were wearing.  This will wear you down over time.  You need to have a real and genuine fit based on the true you.

Likeable:  You’d be surprised about how far “likeability” goes when getting in the door for an interview.  People are more likely to remember people who they like and want to spend time with.