Networking can be nerve-racking! A motivational quote to remember what really matters anyone? Networking is about making a connection, but getting there people struggle with. You essentially have to approach a total stranger and figure out how to spark a viable conversation without any background. It can be tough and the brighter side is you’re not alone.
I still freeze up and revert back to my comfort zone, my friends. But, at the San Francisco Fashion Week reception a light bulb clicked for me. I knew I decided to attend SFFW because I wanted to network with other bloggers/fashionistas in the SF Bay Area. I knew if I walked out of that event having zero new contacts I would feel like a total failure. The pressure was on and with a clear goal, a good friend, a glass of wine, and a plan, I finally got the job done.
I approached a few ladies I had previously spoken to on Instagram but never met in person, and the others I simply approached with a ‘I like that” statement. Once the ice is broken the conversation takes off and it is your job to keep it going, if you want. I have put together a few quick tips of my own and from the awesome career website The Muse to help you upgrade your networking skills.
1. Have a goal– Before committing to attend an event/mixer consider why you need to go and turn that into a goal. If you need to meet some folks in the finance industry set out to meet at least 3 of these people. This helps you hold yourself accountable.
I’ll be writing about everything budget related this month and I am super excited to share. To start, I will give a quick guide on how to set-up and maintain your budget.
Why Have a Budget
I created a budget to keep track of my funds. I like to shop, a lot, and this is a bad habit when you also want to save for a house, car, or whatever. I needed something I could visually see that captured the big picture and just looking at your bank account doesn’t cut it. The best thing you can do to start your road to financial success is understand where every dollar goes. Like the cliché saying, when you know better you do better, and this applies to your money management as well. I did not create a budget to restrict myself from buying what I wanted. I created a budget to better align my spending with my goals. With a budget I can see, and it has helped me with my money management tremendously.
What to Use
I created my budget using Google Doc’s spreadsheets (see here) and example below. I used this tool instead excel or word because I could easily update my budget at any time and not have to go to my email/computer to pull a copy. There is also a Google sheets app (download here) that you can have on your phone or iPad which features an offline mode option for editing on the go. The tool is just like excel and pretty easy to use on all devices.
How I Set-up a Budget
I’m the nice girl who is always smiling, does SOX work, and usually wearing something interesting. This is how I’m known at my current company and even in my earlier company. I’ve come to this conclusion by just aggregating what people know me as and these were always mentioned. Now if you ask my boss he would say the smart girl, the hard worker who he can always depend on to get the job done. How would you rather be known by the people in your company?
Me personally I would like a few of both; online and offline skills that are key to climbing the success latter. Currently, I’m caught in a flow that started in the beginning of my career that is slowing this progression. I come in and make friends while quietly getting my work done to the best of my ability. I’m not running to the front of the line saying look at this or constantly asking questions. I’m not claiming I am the best or taking on way to much work just to please everyone. I’m not saying any of these traits are bad, do not get me wrong, but for me they have never been a path option. My thoughts are the right people know what I can do, and this has gotten me where I want to be. So there you have it, I’m known for what I show, but a question is what about what I didn’t show? What if I could be way further in my career if everyone knew how hard I worked? How many other projects would have been offered to me?
So I’m pretty sure there are other emerging young women in my shoes who want to be known for that mix of everything great. I’ve gathered thoughts from my peers, managers, mentors, and personal thoughts to put together this list. This list is a get starter kit to develop the identity (work brand) you want while making yourself known in your workplace.
If you have a couple of years or even a couple of months under your belt in your career there are a few things you should try an avoid. The list is simple to remember and tough to execute, but a consistent attack on these will help you in the long run.
1. Comparing your path with your colleagues or peers– A key thing to remind yourself of on a daily basis is your path is going to be unlike anyone else’s. Your divine life plan has been developed for you and you only. Consistently investing your energy into someone else’s salary, promotion, or job title is an easy way to lose focus.