There has been much debate as to whether social media or in-person networking is more effective. While it is true that social media channels can help you accelerate the process of making new contacts, especially in large quantities, the personal face-to-face element can be equally important to successfully building your network. It takes a combination of both to get the best results, and as with all new forms of technology, we are still attempting to figure out the right balance.
Social Media Networking
1. Make the most of your extended network.
Thanks to the wonders of technology, you can now establish the links from your existing network to those who you wish to make contact with. Use this to your advantage and don’t be afraid to ask your existing contacts to make that vital first introduction. By using a mutual acquaintance, you’re more likely to achieve your goal, which can change the course of your whole career.
2. Don’t ask what your network can do for you, but what you can do for your network.
Remember this works both ways. Make sure that you are an open source and willing to help fellow networkers. Chances are, they will remember your good deed in facilitating the expansion of their own network and will be happy to help you in return.
3. Be persistent, but not pushy.
It sometimes takes that extra tenacity to put yourself out there and cold connect to a new potential connection, particularly if you need their help for your career progression. While being persistent and following up on email communication is a vital part of the process, you must identify the line where being persistent becomes pushy.
4. Be organized.
Building up your professional network takes time. Social media networking can speed up this process dramatically, but it takes commitment and consistency. Make sure that you that you keep your professional profiles up-to-date for maximize your chances of success. Poorly written profiles and out-of-date personal summaries give the impression of laziness. Make sure that you give the right impression from the start. Professional writers, such as the BlueSteps expert resume writers, can assist you in creating a carefully crafted resume.

5. Convert online relations to offline relations.
While online networking can be a great way to build a large scale business network of contacts in a few short months, to capitalize on your hard work, make sure you try convert online relations into offline meet-ups. This will increase the likelihood of creating a sustained connection with more depth.
In-Person Networking
6. Don’t play waiting games.
After attending a networking event, you may have exchanged business cards and made some great connections. It is important to take the initiative to contact them, and not wait for them to contact you. There are a million reasons why a contact who may have promised to contact you, has not. By waiting too long, opportunities can pass by, and so it’s important to follow-up.
7. Start with a formal introduction.
When in a relaxed networking environment, people often forget that it’s still vital to introduce themselves by their full name. Your name could be shared by any number of people, so consciously giving them your full name can really make a difference. An easy way to do this would be to always offer your business card. If a new connection doesn’t seem to have the right opportunities for you, he or she may refer you to someone who is.
8. Keep the flow.
The social etiquette of networking can be a difficult one to fathom. It is a common occurrence that a networker may become ‘trapped’ in conversation. It is important to move around the room to maximize the potential of the event. It is perfectly acceptable to thank someone for their time and move on to meet new people.
9. Be the early bird.
If you are not an experienced networker and the idea of working a room makes you feel uncomfortable, you might want to consider arriving early. This will give you the ability to speak to people on a one-on-one basis before others arrive, and will avoid you having to shoehorn your way into on-going conversations.
10. Don’t be shy!
Try not to be afraid to put yourself out there and take some risks. Networking has proven power to help you transition to new opportunities, and only those who are able to confidently network can use networking to its full potential.


Copyright © 2013-present BlueSteps, Inc. All rights reserved. The Executive Job Search Engine for Professionals | Bluesteps