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Editor’s note: This
webinar recap article was developed by Aquent, AIGA’s official sponsor for professional
development, as part of the “Ask Aquent” webinar series. Aquent recruiters are hosting live online 45-minute
Q&A sessions each month to help respond to AIGA members’ most pressing
Some people love it and others dread it, but networking is still the best way to find a job you really
want—especially in today’s ever-changing market. During her recent webinar, Aquent agent Mollie Nothnagel gave sound
advice on how to develop business relationships through and benefit from networking. Here are
some highlights, with a few extra tips thrown in.
WhoThink about who you want to connect with in this scenario: the person at a networking
event whose profession has no correlation to your career path or someone who works
in a related field? Define your audience. Know them. Decide who you want to
meet, who can you help out and with whom you could benefit from a relationship.
WhatWhat do you want people in your professional network to know about you? Just as you must identify what you can get out of a business relationship, you should also figure out what you can give. Grab some paper and write two to three sentences about what you do and the benefit of working with you. This is your “elevator pitch.” Don’t forget to practice it with a peer or mentor. Get comfortable with your pitch, because if you can’t, it isn’t the right one for you.
If you’re struggling with your personal pitch, then ask yourself why someone would want to
connect with you professionally. What’s your value in the business realm? Look critically at your online business profiles and compare them to the profiles of others in your field.
Would you want to work with you? While it’s important to be yourself and to be authentic about your
skills and experience, remember that your online presence often makes the first
Nurture Your Relationships
This goes back to the “what,” mentioned above. When you meet someone, follow up within 24 to 48 hours, and be sure to reference something you discussed. During her webinar, Mollie recommended using Evernote to keep networking
contacts organized by group, date, etc. She also suggested writing notes about each networking
contact on the back of their business card.
Introducing colleagues through LinkedIn is another way to show interest
in developing relationships. For example, if one of your connections is
looking for someone with specific skills or experience and you know of someone in your network who fits the bill, then introduce them. When you give to your network, your network gives back.
You Can Do This
Say you’re a self-proclaimed introvert and consider yourself the worst networker in the
world. You can change that by learning about the people you want to meet before you approach them. Make a list of three to five questions
that are substantial enough to spur strong conversations. Once again, practice makes perfect. This will help you
network naturally, when the time comes.
Looking for further advice? Here are two recommended books on professional networking: A Foot in the Door and Never Eat Alone.
About this Webinar Series
If you missed the “Networking Advice” webinar, members may log in to view the entire broadcast on-demand here. For more
information about the “Ask Aquent” webinar series, click here. Members may sign up for future sessions.
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