July 9, 2019 | Lee Easton What does it mean to network? The term is used so often and it is taken for granted that people actually know what it means, much less how it is supposed to help them. For blue collar workers? Forget about it: networking is not going to help my career. Wrong! Although networking is often synonymous with business and entrepreneurship, there are numerous skills and strategies that networking can offer anyone in any industry including blue-collar workers in Tulsa, Oklahoma! Here are some ways you can start networking to improve your career: Two Major tips for networking: Treat your network as you would like to be treated. If you are hoping to find employment or educational opportunities from your network, you should return the favor. If you find out about opportunities that interest you, do not hesitate to share the news with your network online or with your friends in the community. Doing so will improve the relationship you build and improve the quality of opportunities that come your way. It’s important not to go too heavy on the work material. An important rule of thumb for networking is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your conversation with your network should be natural about life, sports, entertainment, and so on; Only 20% (or less at times) should focus on your career and new opportunities. Start Early Networking does not begin once you start working or start looking for work. Networking is a lifelong process. You should begin networking and getting involved prior to work while at university or in a trade school. Joining clubs and connecting with other students and teachers from an early age helps build a stronger networking base for the future. Connect with Staffing Agencies A great way to find out about opportunities in your area is to connect with a local staffing agency. Staffing agencies are sometimes the first to hear about new employment openings or training services coming to your town. Reach out to your local agency and see how they can help you. Stand-By Personnel is a Tulsa staffing agency built to help you! Create Online Profiles Most people nowadays have some sort of social network. LinkedIn, a semi-social, semi-professional networking site is great no matter what industry you work in. Setup your profile and start connecting with friends, family, coworkers and bosses. Interact with your network regularly to stay in the loop and learn new skills. You will see your network grow in no time! You can even use other sites such as Facebook or Twitter for networking but your friends there are generally more interested in your personal life; stick to the 80/20 rule. Use current, former and future coworkers Whether on social media or face-to-face, using the connections you already have is a great idea. Maybe you are out of work and need to find work or you have a job but are looking for a new opportunity. In either case, communicate with your coworkers, past or present, and see if they know of anything. You never know what opportunity might stumble your way. Join Groups Just as you should get started early by joining clubs or trade associations while in school, you should continue doing so throughout your career. At some point being involved might appear to be worthless to your career but you might be an important connection for someone younger who is hoping to find a great opportunity for their career. Stay involved and share your expertise with your network! A couple of extra tips for introverts: Wear something that stands out Something simple you can do if you are an introvert is to wear something that stands out. This does not have to be an obnoxious shirt or shoes but rather something simple. For you that might be a hat with your employer’s brand on it, a phone case with a trade specific logo or a backpack with branding attached. Doing this might help spark conversation immediately about work and avoid the small talk that generally goes along with networking. Start small Another great piece of advice for introverts is to start small. Rather than going big and trying to do all your networking in one night, try to divvy up your goals. Start with connecting with just one new person and then build from there. Going straight to large conferences might be overwhelming. Starting small with your current connections and building slowly will still be beneficial to your career. Just listen Many people hate small talk that generally kicks off a networking experience or they hate talking about themselves too much. Just listen. Do not overstep your boundaries, but listen to those around you. Listen to their interests and complaints and then try to find something that you have in common or an area of concern that you can assist with. That is a great kicking off point for a potentially new connection. If you are looking for new full-time or part-time employment, our experienced Tulsa staffing agency can help you. Contact Stand-By Personnel today to learn more or text ‘weldingjobs’ or ‘skilledjobs’ to 888-111.