If you think about it, a great networking event can be career-changing. When this kind of magic happens, you connect with people that “up” your skills, you form lasting alliances—you may even engage those with the power to expand your career options and mobility.
Regardless of the line of work you’re in, there’s a built-in expectation that you should be plugged in to the happenings of your industry and region. And according to training firm Contacts Count, if you want to move from quick encounters to true, results-oriented networking, you need to seek out networking opportunities where you can demonstrate both your character and competence.
As you consider approaching relationship-building in a more thoughtful way, here are some pointers that can boost your efforts:
1) Use the good times to plan for the bad times. Too often, I see people rush to get involved with networks at crunch time, when they’ve been freshly laid off or are panicking about a recent work crisis. But networking doesn’t work that way. Investing time in your network when things are stable makes you real and human to those who know you and makes them far more likely to vouch for you when times are tough. This is a lot like seeing someone stranded on the side of the road. If they look to be a stranger, we’re less likely to help. But if we can say, “Oh there’s Rachel. I know her and she looks like she could use a hand”, we’ll jump in and assist them. It’s critical that you become known by many people other than just your boss; nurture your networks even if little by little over time.
Must-Do's 3-4 and the complete Forbes article