Strategic Networking Tips

Keystone Partners, a founding partner of Career Partners International, offers their tips for strategic networking. When done correctly, networking is an important way to build lasting professional connections. 

Did you know? 

  • Face-to-face networking ranks #1 as most effective
  • Some of the most powerful connections will come from people you don’t know
  • Don’t assume someone can’t be a resource based on their title
  • Feedback and insight often come from the least likely connections
  • To always ask for introductions to broaden your network
  • Keep your network alive while you are well employed
  • If you network while you are well employed, finding your next opportunity will be easier
  • Add to your network and do it strategically

Before you network:

  • Develop plans for your operational, developmental, and strategic networks
  • Join an organization and then become active
  • Make a list of your peers and use LinkedIn to connect
  • Review LinkedIn profiles prior to meeting new people
  • Always ask for introductions to broaden your network
  • Offer to meet at a location convenient to them and plan to pay
  • Prepare questions to ask during the meeting
  • Arrive on time for the meeting

During a networking session:

  • Be genuine
  • Follow up as promised
  • Golden Rule: Treat other people the way you would want to be treated
  • Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they wish to be treated
  • Smile! It makes you more approachable
  • Keep the conversation a two-way dialogue: be inquisitive, curious, conversational
  • Ask how you might assist the other person
  • Always ask for introductions to broaden your network
  • Keep the meeting to 30-45 minutes unless it's a meal
  • Make note of a few key points from the conversation

After the meeting:

  • Follow up with a "thank you" email within 24 hours
  • Follow up as promised
  • Send a customized LinkedIn request to connect after your meeting

More good Tips:

  • When attending a networking event, sit with people you don't know
  • Make connections and introductions for others
  • Find opportunities to communicate with members of your network
  • Send a text to three people you know just to say you are thinking of them
  • Never stop networking: don't put yourself in the position of having to reconnect with people years later asking "remember me?"
  • Approach networking based on the foundation of "How can I help?" not "What can I get?"