Don’t limit yourself to a narrow definition of professional networking. Learn how to expand your approach with these creative networking tips. The term “networking” may have connotations of the golf course or a mixer in a bar after work. But networking really means increasing and strengthening your connections, which can be accomplished in a variety of ways. If you broaden your horizons, creative networking can be done in any number of settings tailored to your preferences. Here are five tips to go beyond collecting business cards. Network at Work You don’t even have to leave your office to start networking. Go to coffee with a colleague that you don’t know well, and you can open up the possibilities in your own workplace. In the long term, it can lead to meeting new people within your organization, opportunities to apply or develop your skills or even a promotion. In the short term, this has an added benefit of getting to know and understand your colleagues better. Use Reconnection as Networking Networking doesn’t always have to take place in person or with people you don’t know. In fact, networking is often more powerful when it’s cumulative, and not just a one-off encounter the first time you meet someone. Networking can also mean reconnecting with former colleagues and sending notes of appreciation, congratulations on work anniversaries, or other virtual ways to stay in touch. Create your Own Networking Club Don’t wait for a professional organization to dictate the rules of networking -- create your own! Successful networking can revolve around any shared activity, such as book clubs, foodie groups or whatever interests you. Silicon Valley investor Greg Gretsch, for example, uses his love of cycling as a way to meet other to work with. “Connecting with people is important to what I do, and you can learn a lot about a person, and from a person, on the bike,” Gretsch told the New York Times. Network through Volunteering Sometimes, networking can feel like it’s about gladhandling and backscratching. But you should be able to provide something of value to others when you network, which is why volunteering can be such a valuable benefit to everyone involved. In addition to helping you meet community leaders, volunteering can be an opportunity to experience another work sector, develop new skills and take on a leadership role as a trial next step within your organization. Volunteering can be good for more than the soul. This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.
Rethinking How You Network
5 Questions to Ask Potential Employers at Job Networking Events
When networking for a job, ask specific questions about the company and their open positions so that you can assess whether you're a good fit. These questions will help you identify opportunities for your career.Networking for a job is one of the most important things you can do to help achieve your short term career goals and to ensure you have a long and rewarding career. Few people stay at the same company for life any more. That means, networking for your next job should be a continuous endeavor. Attending networking events is one way to keep yourself in front of potential employers and keep your career moving forward.Here are five questions to ask potential employers at your next job networking event.Is your company hiring right now, or are you looking for a future hire?Just because a company sends a representative to a networking event doesn't mean they're hiring right now. Many human resources directors go to such events to keep their company in the spotlight for potential employees. Asking this question will help you identify which employers are hiring right now, and which might have job opportunities in the future.Where do you see your company being in 5 or 10 years?In today's rapidly-changing world of work, job security is never guaranteed. But, it's often more likely with a company that has a clear vision for the future. This question should reveal the organization's plans to remain sustainable and to better understand the kind of opportunities that might be available.What is a normal career path for someone holding that position?By asking this question, you can evaluate your own career path to see if you are a good candidate for a particular position. It's also a great way to learn about potential directions you can take your career in the future.What should a person read before taking that position?This is an important question that reveals the values of the company, and the person in front of you. That could be important if the person at the networking event is also the hiring manager.Are there any special preparations, career steps, or job/educational qualifications necessary for that position?If a position requires any special education or career prerequisites, you want to know that up front. If you aren't qualified today, you can determine whether or not that position is important enough to you to pursue the right qualifications.Job networking events give you an opportunity to match your current skills and qualifications with open job positions right now while evaluating where your career can be in the future.This article is contributed by Right Management, www.rightmanagement.sg, the global career experts within the ManpowerGroup.