Top Ten Smart Networking Tips

Smart networking is critical to career success. Master it, and you master your destiny. The following tips will help you become a pro:

1. If unemployed, print your own business cards to use at networking events. Include your contact information with your target market. Example: John Q. Smith, Sales Management.

2. Put your resume on the Internet with its own web page. Many Internet service providers give you a free page for personal use. Then, add your resume page's URL to your business card.

3. When you collect business cards, follow-up! Note on the back of each card where you met the individual and something noteworthy to help you remember him. Schedule a time to meet for coffee to continue building the relationship.

4. Make networking a process to do for the life of your career, not just something to do between jobs. Continue growing your career by building and maintaining your relationships.

5. When at a networking event, offer first, take second. Determine the value you have for others before asking for their help. This way you will leave a memorable impression.

6. As an employee of "Brand Me, Inc.," act like you're self-employed when you seek a new job. Market yourself as your most important product.

7. For entrepreneurs, public speaking and publishing are tantamount to building expertise in the public eye. For job seekers, doing the same can attract attention to your expertise, hopefully leading to meetings with potential hiring authorities.

8. Remember that everyone you meet has the potential to lead you to your target. Most people are only three to six degrees removed from the person with what they need to connect.

9. Networking gurus have polished 30-second commercials. Practice your "elevator speech" so it sounds natural and conveys the right message in a succinct way.

10. As you network, be authentic. No one likes a know-it-all any more than a wallflower. Be yourself and be real. Above all else, remember your manners. Thank those who help you.