So you KNOW you need to network, but HOW do you get started? Well, girlboss, here are 6 tips to help you network like a pro.

“There are plenty of fish in the sea” is a phrase that applies to more than just the dating pool. The career world is a vast ocean, filled with thousands of people competing for the same positions.

In today’s digital age, HR Managers are inundated with resumes, cover letters, and follow up emails. You might be highly qualified for the dream position you’re applying for, but once you send your resume off into cyberspace, there’s a chance it could get lost in the clutter.

So, how do you put your best self forward, shine the brightest, and stand out under a pile of resumes? Your qualifications matter, but in order to stay at the top of employers’ minds, it comes down to who you know.

In a recent study we conducted, 25% of adults over the age of 30 said they wish they would have networked more often in their twenties and improved their career relationships.

Networking is the key to success, but it goes far beyond shaking hands and swapping business cards at a career fair. How you approach the networking process is crucial, and taking the time to build and maintain relationships is more important than ever.

Here are six tips that will help you network like a boss:

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Tap Into Your Preexisting Network

When you’re looking for a new opportunity, turn to your friends and family to make new connections.

Maybe you want to pursue your passion for photography and your colleague’s roommate runs a successful photography business. Maybe your best friend’s cousin is looking to fill a position in a field you’re interested in.

If you’re a little more of an introvert or just starting out, tapping into your preexisting network is a great place to start.

Put Yourself Out There and Attend Events

Most cities have some sort of organized young professionals group. Become a member if it’s financially feasible and make it a personal goal to attend one networking event each month.

If the thought of attending an event by yourself makes your palms sweaty, bring a friend with you to help break the ice.

Getting out in the community and talking to other young professionals is a great way to expand your network, and you never know what opportunities can stem from those new connections.

Hand out Business Cards and Collect Them, Too

Always make sure to bring your business cards with you to every event you attend.

Keep an extra stash in your car so you never leave home without them.

And don’t just give them out – collect them, too.

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Follow Up

Collecting business cards is the easy part, but it’s what you do with them that matters most. Follow up with the people you met as soon as possible to ensure the conversations you had are fresh in their minds.

Thank each person you met for his or her time, share a personal tidbit from your conversation and offer up the option to grab coffee or lunch. Making new connections is great, but it’s important to put in the extra effort to maintain and grow the relationships.

Use Social Media to your Advantage

Social media is a great tool for finding people who live in your city and work in your industry. Search relevant hashtags and like and comment on others’ posts.

If someone is sharing content that interests you, be bold and send them a direct message to see if they’d be interested in meeting up to talk more about their industry and how they got their start.


Pay it Forward and Help Others

The people you meet will genuinely be interested in helping you find your next big thing. Most of the time, they will go out of their way to share their experiences with you and connect you with the right people.

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Remember to do the same and be a mentor to others.

What are some of your tried and true networking tips?

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