How to Network Like an Expert (Even When You Don’t Feel Like One)

Ah, networking. Just that word alone may be the shortest horror story ever, depending on who you ask, but what if I told you networking doesn’t have to be that scary? 

The world of professionalism praises networking as the golden ticket to advancing any career. And as old-school or difficult as it may seem, I have to break it to you: networking really does work! 

It works so much that, according to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled thanks to networking and referrals. But if you aren’t that confident in your mingling skills, have no fear because I’m going to give you some practical tips to help you network well and with confidence. 

Read on, and let’s talk about how you can level up your career just through the power of connections! 

How can networking help your career? 

Networking is excellent for building community within your industry or ones of interest, but that’s not the only reason to show up for that happy hour. The goal of networking is to connect with other professionals and establish mutual relationships that can help grow everyone’s careers. 

Here are a few specific benefits of networking to consider: 

  • Networking helps you gain professional confidence. 
  • Networking introduces you to fresh ideas and new skills.
  • Networking increases your visibility in your field. 
  • Networking increases job opportunities. 

Networking has the power to transform your career, and you deserve to take advantage of that—even if you’re shy or don’t feel well-versed in your industry. There are no requirements to network, but let’s cover the basics of networking well below.

3 Networking best practices to start using now

 You don’t have to be the most confident person in the room to network like a boss, so hone these three tips below the next chance you get, and be impressed by your own ability to work a room! 

  1. Lead with curiosity. 

Sometimes the most overwhelming part of networking is figuring out what you’re going to say. But the best connections are made when you approach a new person with questions and the readiness to learn about their unique experience! 

Here’s a pro tip about people: they love talking about themselves—seriously. So whenever you’re in doubt about what to say, ask an open-ended question about their goals or interests, and voila! 

  1. Be ready to talk about your strengths. 

People won’t know what you can bring to the table unless you tell them, so consider what you have to offer before you connect with someone. Whether it’s mentorship or help with a project, simply recognizing what you have to offer can help skyrocket your confidence.

  1. Think about the big picture.

Networking isn’t always about landing your next job after one meeting with someone. Take some pressure off yourself by remembering that your network connections are life-long and are beneficial for several reasons! 

I know that networking can be tough, but I believe that you can do it, especially once you reframe how you think of networking. Nothing—and that includes networking—can get in the way of your career success, and I’d love to support you on your journey! Schedule a call here to learn more about career coaching with me.