Are you looking for your next challenge? Are you feeling stagnate in your current tech position? Do you need some guidance from an expert in your field? You’re not alone. There’s an endless number of people out there to help move you forward – all you have to do is ask.
You’ve decided to pursue a career in an exciting and fast-paced field. In order to excel, networking is essential. On the surface, making connections can feel like a challenge. Where do you begin? What do you say? How do you take the time to make the connections?
Even if you’re an introvert like me, you can do this. Trust me. I’m going to give you three simple tips to help you get started and keep you moving as you grow your network and build a rewarding, fulfilling career.
Tip #1: Make micro-commitments to build your network
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your network won’t be either. 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 new person on LinkedIn, attend one new networking event a month, reconnect with a contact from a past job or school.
Make a small commitment each day 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 overtime 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 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.
Make sure your ‘ask’ is something lightweight. Something easy for them to do. An email introduction. A 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.
You can do this. Even if you don’t think you have the time or know-how, it’s
easier than you think. I go more in-depth on building your network and expanding your career in my best-selling book, The DevelopHer Playbook, and in my DevelopHer programs for women in tech. Dedicate yourself to taking micro-steps. What’s the first step you need to make to develop your network? Write it down, and then give yourself a deadline to get it done and commit.