Living in Washington D.C., everyday of the week you can find some sort of networking event. When I first moved out to the area, I never really understood why people would come together in a room just to talk about themselves!
Five years and three jobs later, I know why. Networking is a key element in furthering your career. In a place like Washington D.C., its not so much about WHAT you know, its WHO you know. Meeting incredible people who share similar career or academic paths can be key in making career power moves.
To be very honest, the act of networking has been challenging for me. I will say that dressing the part and confidence is key. Your outfit should match your “brand” if you are a future lawyer, you would not go to a professional networking event in club wear. As a career and styling consultant, I dress the part by looking professional, yet chic.
Networking is really like speed dating, you want to see if you have similar interests and if there is an opportunity to collaborate with the person or even share other resources or contacts who can help the person. You need to have an ask and give. Which means, you should be able to present what you are looking to learn or need support in, but also share something that you could do to possibly help others.
The BIGGEST issue in networking is actually following up with the “amazing people” you’ve met! You may have an great conversation with a person, but you will have to follow up with them after the networking event to truly express your interest in that new job or collaboration opportunity.
You may ask yourself how do I do this effectively? The Muse has created five email templates to help you send that follow up note.
If you work it the right way, networking WELL can take your career to next level or expand the reach of your business!
As always, if you have any career or fashion concerns that you need help with, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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