If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with career and network growth. Making connections is key to career development. Whether you’re the newbie in the office or looking for some inspiration after being stuck in a rut, networking at the office can help grow your personal brand and enhance your overall career experiences.
Here are five simple ways networking at work can lead to a career full of opportunity and promise:
First impressions count, so be nice and consistent!
First and foremost, always be yourself. A short hello or smile in the elevator on Monday mornings can make a difference, as even a short elevator ride can turn into a business opportunity or a chance to work cross-functionally. Engaging with your coworkers can be as simple as chatting in the break room over a daily cup of coffee. Use any opportunity to talk to people will work. Ask them about their experiences, how long they’ve worked for the company, or where they worked before.
Everyone loves a collaborative team player with a can-do spirit. When you show up with a willingness to work hard and a smile on your face, people notice. Genuinely doing your best and enjoying the day-to-day work process, shows your enthusiasm, and this sets the tone for what type of worker you are. Soon, many will want to work with you and get to know you. How to Network with the People You Already See Every Day offers other friendly tips to networking with your colleagues at the office to help you discover daily opportunities and ensure success.
Volunteer whenever, however you can, if it’s sincere.
First, try volunteering for extra projects or volunteer to support another teammate or department at your company. Lending a helping hand can strengthen relationships as well as serve as a wonderful way to meet people outside your immediate team.
In a more traditional sense, supporting the causes, you care about, by sharing or bonding over the same causes with your fellow coworkers can be a networking tool in disguise. Being passionate about significant issues outside of the office, at the office, can lead you to meet other coworkers or department leads at volunteer opportunities, giving you more face time with other people in your company.
Attend Lunch and Learns
“Lunch and Learns” or brown bags are an informative way to expand your knowledge but informal way to meet other people across the organization. Introduce yourself whenever you’re sitting next to someone you may not already know and let them know where you sit, what teams you support and your primary job duties. Initiating these conversations can help give you more of a pulse on core values, other employees’ career paths and insight to propel you further in your career at your current company.
Join a club and seek out career development opportunities
Other career development opportunities could be through joining employee belonging clubs or councils. Clubs are great ways to get to know your fellow coworkers who share your interests and passions. And, if your employer doesn’t have one, consider starting one. Sharing passions can help you relate to your coworkers or even your superiors in a new way. Soon, they may start to see new qualities in you that may not necessarily shine during meetings. When people know you and your strengths or interests, they’re likely to think of you when new opportunities pop-up.
Always engage, be social and approachable
People will remember you, especially when collaborating on projects together. Try to schedule either a recurring lunch meeting with your team to get to know them better or look for ways to meet others outside your immediate team and departments and have lunch with them.
Don’t forget to text! Fast Company explains why texting is the networking hack we’re missing with tips and tricks on gracefully texting professional connections by keeping conversations short and straight to the point without hesitation. There is an art to networking, but there is also an art to texting as well. Take advantage of having your coworker’s numbers.
Just like friendships in your real-life, establishing working relationships can be friendly if you’re mindful about respecting boundaries and appropriately present yourself in a professional manner at all times. Try texting an icebreaker like sharing relevant news or interesting articles related to your industry or show you care about work conversations outside of work too.
Sometimes networking isn’t just about who you know, but who remembers you. Mastering these five simple ways and working hard is a sure way to network while working, allowing you to flourish in any given career field. Staying top of mind as a standout candidate can further your career advancements and be a rewarding experience. Happy networking!