The following are our top ten networking rules that could show you the path to success at your next networking engagement. Remember, the benefits that are reaped from networking are directly aligned to the effort that you put into the process.

  1. Believe in yourself: review your resume and interview questions and answers as a reminder of how good you are, and how much you have accomplished. Maintain your confidence.
  2. Develop a networking plan:
    1. Create a list of past meetings and assess them. From your assessment, create an improvement plan that includes talking points, non-verbal image, answers to questions you wished you had known before, etc.
    2. Create a list of networking events in your area and choose your top four.
    3. Develop a follow up plan for current and new networking contacts.
    4. Face-to-face interviews, networking calls and meetings should be a part of your overall plan. It is not unreasonable to have 25-100 touch points per week with people in and outside of your network.
  3. Practice your success stories: even if a networking event is not an interview, you may be asked for information that only an accomplishment-oriented answer could provide.
  4. Develop and practice your Elevator Speech which represents who you are, your main talents, and your potential fit, whether in industry or culture.
  5. Create a one-page summary of your accomplishments, companies or industries for which you would like to work, possible job titles that fit your experience, and past companies, and take it with you to networking events, as well as business cards or another form of providing your contact information.
  6. Do not be afraid to provide insight during meetings instead of asking for help. Sometimes you need to give first to receive later.
  7. If it is your first time at an event, you may find that people are already talking to each other, which means many of them know each other. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, and get introduced.
  8. Social networking is your friend: As you gain more confidence in your networking abilities, branch out to new areas. Networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn should be considered key in your search efforts. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a LinkedIn profile and in using your network to find a new position. However, if you are to use social media as part as your networking efforts, we suggest you Review your online presence by searching for your name, and ask yourself if it’s the presence that you’d like to have. If you are blogging, are the blogs appropriate? Have you written any articles within your industry? It’s important to keep your Internet presence up to date. And remember, a professional image is one way to land a new job.
  9. Never stop networking: Everywhere that you go, everyone that you touch may know someone who has an opening. Use every conversation as a way to gain another name to contact. In no time, you’ll have established a considerable network. Remind them that you are in the market and always thank them for their help and advice.
  10.  And remember, networking is not collecting people, but connecting with people.