Networking can be an effective and enriching way to grow professionally. Building a network takes time and great care, but it can lead to many rewarding moments for you as a job candidate or as a business person. Whether you are years into your business career or are considering applying to a traditional or online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, networking is a valuable skill to develop.
If you are looking for networking tips, a good resource is someone who has spent years studying the art of great networking. One such person is Karen Wickre, former editorial director at Twitter and a master networker.
The Do’s of Good Networking
One of Wickre’s most important networking tips is to find ways to be helpful to people in your network. Look for ways you can connect people in different areas who need help solving problems, finding a job or getting a lead on a project. Making good referrals, Wickre suggests, is an excellent way to help out people in your network.
Another networking suggestion is to keep loose connections with a wide range of contacts so that you can draw upon those sources as you see needs within your network. Social media provides an easy way to maintain these “weak ties,” as Wickre calls them, and can give you access to deeper connections when the time arises.
The Don’ts of Good Networking
On the flip side of Wickre’s networking tips, she advises against using your contacts only when you personally have a need. The people in your network are just that: people. They are not a means to an end and shouldn’t be treated as one more step in a business transaction. Wickre also encourages networkers to be generous in making introductions and connections, rather than doing favors only when you feel they are owed.
Networking Through Your MBA Program
You can apply the advice of a good networker at any step in your business career, not just after you have already spent years in your profession and have built a solid network. A crucial part of establishing your network is investing your time and concern in other people to build relationships. It is never too soon to begin thinking about building your network.
If you’re considering an online MBA program, it is useful to evaluate how that school will influence your future network. Your connections with other students and your professors will contribute to your network for years to come. You can begin using these networking tips now in finding ways to connect, to help and to build relationships that will be mutually beneficial for the long term.
Learn more about Baylor University’s online MBA program.
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