The New Rules of Work: How To Network

In this EIGHT PART SERIES we chronicle the new ways to NAVIGATE YOUR CAREER in the MODERN WORKPLACE. This week we’re discussing HOW TO NETWORK …


Although some of the old rules on how to build a relationship with someone remain viable, networking has become much more nuanced, common, and expected due to social media; it’s no longer reserved pri­marily for the conference circuit or big industry events. From casual email or Twit­ter interactions, to coffee dates and informational interviews, you need to learn the New Rules for how to expertly build and manage a network—both online and off.

Look for smaller get-togethers. Remember, the name of the game here is quality, not quantity. It’s fine to eschew the major events and look for smaller groups to connect with.

Create your own group with a few friends and colleagues. Each month, choose three interesting people, and ask each of them to invite three of their friends to convene at a coffee shop or someone’s house. You never know whom you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.

Participate in Facebook or Twitter chats. This is a great way for qui­eter, more introverted types to chime into a real-time conversation.

Search LinkedIn for an active group relevant to your industry, profession, or interests. There are groups out there of all sizes, so start small if you’re new to these kinds of forums; in a smaller group you’ll stand out more. Join a discussion to offer your perspective or start your own thread. Just make sure your comments are professional, relevant, and add value.

Another tactic for making the most of a networking event is to go in with a goal. Pinpoint your reason for being there: having a mission helps you focus and forces you to break out of your comfort zone. If you’re new to networking, your goal might be simply to talk to two or three people to get the lay of the land. Other goals may be:

Setting up one informational interview. Who can you meet that you’d like to talk to further about a company, industry, or potential job opportunity?

Learning something new. Can you take the opportunity to listen to a fascinating speaker or strike up a conversation with someone? Will you be able to put together a short event recap and share with your co-workers (to teach them something new and impress your boss by taking the initiative)?

Meeting three new people who work for companies you’re interested in. It’s always beneficial to swap contact information with people who work at companies that pique your interest, whether you’re actively looking for a job or not. Who can you talk to for an insider’s view of the office vibe, types of colleagues, perks, and management style?

Copyright © 2017 by Million Things LLC. Extracted from THE NEW RULES OF WORK by Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew. Published by Orion Spring at £14.99 in paperback. Also available in audio and ebook.

Whether you are starting out in your career, looking to advance or navigating a mid-career shift, this eight part series will provide you with the tips and advice you need to thrive in the new world of work. Stay tuned for the next excerpt from The New Rules of Work next Monday.

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