If you think your career advancement will be based solely on your hard work and achievements, you’re wrong. Yes, you have to deliver on your objectives, but this alone won’t guarantee that you will be promoted at work. You’ll no doubt have heard the phrase “promoted beyond their level of competence”: enough people get promoted without having ‘earned’ it.
What will boost your chances of promotion is a combination of your being great at what you do and having a great network to help oil the wheels of your advancement. A good start is to do a bit of reconnaissance and homework to find out who in your company might be of help to you based on your career aspirations. The next step is to find out where their interests lie so you can be of help to them: the key to successful networking. Below are 5 strategies to help you network like a pro.
See Also: How to network in college
1. Identify The People That Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
If you know where you want to go, career-wise, then find out who in your company has the keys to help you get there? Make a list of these people - they will form your ‘influencers list’. Don’t make the mistake of limiting your list to current holders of positions in which you are interested. Also include ‘gatekeepers’ to these people such as personal assistants or secretaries, who may not wield any obvious power, but have access to the diaries of those who may be of interest to you (not least access to information that could help you).
Building relationships with these often overlooked players can mean the difference between getting an appointment with an influencer on your list and not even getting your foot through the door.
It’s also important to have different types of people in your network, according to a useful article in the Muse. The article suggests that your list should include those who are visionaries, the inspirational people in your office with great ideas. Realists, who will help you critically appraise your ideas and proposals. And connectors, natural relationship builders who have an “outstanding network” themselves.
2. Look For Opportunities For Interaction
Armed with your list of influencers, the next step is to figure out how to talk to them. Could you arrange to meet them to discuss an aspect of their role to which you can add value? Do you ever see them in the company canteen? Look for common interests - a reliable way to build a relationship with a power player is to first build a social connection. So take not of what they talk about, ask relevant questions and make a mental note of areas of similarity.
3. Develop The Mind-set of A Helper
A spirit of generosity that will lead to others responding in kind. This could mean putting them in touch with a colleague that could be of value to them. Sending them a magazine clipping relevant to their work. Or offering to pitch in when they appear to be overloaded with work. And your help doesn’t have to be work-related: human beings are social in nature, so don’t feel you must only relate on a business level.
4. Build Solid Relationships
Relationships are built over time: it takes more than sending one newspaper clipping to an influencer to build a relationship. You need to allow people the time it takes them to develop confidence in you; it’s also important that you invest in the relationship, so their confidence in you grows.
5. Find Ways To Spend More Time With People On Your Influencers List
It’s not enough to know whom you need to influence, it’s also key to find ways to reallocate your time so you can spend more of it with those on your influencers list. This could mean volunteering for a project they are connected with or attending events where you know they will be present.
In business, familiarity is good. When people have an established relationship with you, they are more comfortable about introducing you to others in their network and will more readily talk to you about their ideas and opinions.
We all need allies at work - that is, those who will provide us with information, advice and support. The strategies described above will help you harness the power of your network so that the odds of advancement are tilted in your favour.
Do you have any other tips to help you network like a pro?