7 Ways To Network Like A Boss

networking tips, network professional, #networking, networking ideas

This post is in partnership with Forté Foundation. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and experiences are always my own.


They say that “your network = your net worth.” And it’s true. The people you meet in life are a major factor in the opportunities you’ll be awarded. As an introvert, that’s hella scary to think about. I’m more of the type to stay at home with my dog, watching Netflix, pretending the only world is the one inside the boob tube. However, after leaving the 9-5 grind, I couldn’t wait for networking opportunities to fall into my lap! I had to #NetworkLikeABoss in order to stay my own boss.

Here are the 7 ways I’ve networked throughout my career + an awesome giveaway at the end to jumpstart your networking!

1. Trainings

Back in my 9-5 grind, I went to every possible training my employer offered. Most were community-based so it gave me an opportunity to meet other professionals in the industry. At the time, I had no idea how some of these people would come full circle in my career! If you can attend trainings, show up with a positive attitude and be ready to learn and grow.

2. Events

As I started to move into entrepreneurship, I began attending industry-related events like round table luncheons or bowling. After going to two or three, I started to see familiar faces and grew more comfortable. These people became my advocates, introducing me to others. I was just started my business when I went to an event and reconnected with a former co-worker I had lost touch with. She put me in touch with her current employer—and they became my first client! From there, I built my client base through my word-of-mouth warriors. The calls started coming in and my client base grew.

3. Conferences

I attended these both in my previous industry and as a blogger. While it’s definitely overwhelming to attend a conference as an introvert, I’ve found them extremely helpful in fostering relationships, which is something I struggle with. Especially now that my business is primarily digital, it’s a fantastic way to bring on-line relationships offline and really solidify them. You see conferences have a “fun” element to them as everyone is usually traveling, going out to dinner, and looking to blow off a little steam after an information-packed day! This is where friendships start to happen.

4. Create an interview series

Honestly, this was probably the biggest gamechanger for me. When I launched TCM, I knew that my network would = my net worth in the blogging world. I knew I needed to meet others in the community and build relationships, but the digital world felt big and overwhelming.

I decided to shrink the pool by launching a vlog series called Inspiring Millennials, where I interviewed people who took a road less traveled in their careers. This really pushed me to put myself out there and dig deep in hour-long, one-on-one conversations. I’ve stayed in touch with most of my guests (some have even become close friends!), and they’ve been great about helping me bounce around a new idea or keeping me in mind for business opportunities.

If you’re not interested in starting a vlog or podcast, just challenge yourself to meet with one person every week (in person or for a digital coffee date) to learn about them and their career path and see how you can be of service to them down the road.

5. Respond to every message

In the early days as a digital entrepreneur, I definitely wasn’t the one sending a ton of messages (#introvertproblems!). Instead what I did was respond to every single message that came into any of my inboxes. Yes, that includes the annoying automated DMs on Twitter. In fact, I actually met people in person from those messages on Twitter! I showed up for the digital world and it showed right back up for me! Today I don’t have time to respond to every single message, but doing so in the early days taught me a lot about networking opportunities that can fall into your lap if you’re present.

Rachel Ritlop The Confused Millennial Coffee Shop

6. Twitter chats

One of the fastest ways I started to meet people in the digital space was through twitter chats, where people show up ready for meaningful conversation and networking. What I love about twitter chats in particular is that you all clearly have a shared interest already and it’s easy to build upon relationships from there.

7. Dedicated communities

It’s essential to surround yourself with friends, peers, and mentors who are looking to lift one another up. The online space can feel really big and overwhelming. I recommend checking out sites like Forté Foundation, a nonprofit which provides networking tips and resources for women who want to succeed in business. They are always doing cool things like their current giveaway (full details below!), #NetworkLikeABoss where winners can snag all kinds of awesome goodies (think spa gift certificates, Starbucks gift cards, Michael Kors bag, and so much more!). Finding a community of like minded people looking to elevate one another is key.

You see, growing your network boils down to a few things: showing up, finding your tribe, and being of service to them. When you consistently show up and say “yes” to the opportunities happening in your life, it becomes easier to take a more active role in saying “this is my tribe” or “this isn’t for me.” Above all else, remember that your network will continue to have your back and support you, as long as you are showing up and supporting them. It’s all about service and adding value to enrich others’ lives which is why so many professional women are there to support you on your journey through communities like Forté Foundation. You never know how the people you meet today will come full circle in your career, and powerful bosses know that they didn’t get to where they are all on their own!

[Related] 4 Soft Skills To Help You Become A Leader

rachel ritlop the confused millennial

>>> GIVEAWAY <<<

Alright, so I’ve been talking about all the ways I’ve networked over the years, now it’s your turn! I’ve partnered with Forté Foundation to bring one winner some amazing prizes to jump start their career!

Starbucks $100 gift card- Coffee date? Yes, please! Take an industry professional to coffee and request an informational interview about their company.

Michael Kors bag- The way you present yourself says a lot about your confidence and who you will attract in your career! My first 9-5 job my Michael Kors purse was actually the ice breaker with my interviewer!

$400 gift card to Bliss Spa- Invite your boss squad to a spa day for some serious bonding. Not a Bliss Spa near you? We’ll allocate the funds towards a gift card to a spa in your area.

Amazon Echo Show provided by Cognizant- A new way to be together. With remote jobs on the rise, it’s time to get used to video calls! Use the Echo Show to make hands-free video calls to friends and family –– perfect for the modern multi-tasker. Thank you, Cognizant!

Pimco swag bag- Complete with an umbrella, fold up-reusable shopping bag, tumbler, stainless steel coffee mug, beach towel and a $20 Starbucks gift. This has ~everything~ you need to be productive on the go.

Waterproof speaker provided by Goldman Sachs- Nothing like a power playlist to get you pumped for networking, interviews, and everyday blasting from this awesome waterproof speaker.

An expense paid trip to one Forte College Leadership Conference of the winner’s choice- Remember those conferences I mentioned as a key for networking? Yup, you won’t want to miss this! Forté’s hosts around six conferences a year for college students hosted by industry leaders.

GMAT Voucher ($250)– Is grad school in your future? Women who take the GMAT in college often score higher than any other time in their lives. Start a study group asap!

Enter here for your chance to win, and happy networking!

 


Photography via Lauren Louise Photography

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  • Raising World Children Ezine

    Out of these, I haven’t used Twitter too much . I’m working really hard on the rest. Crossing my fingers 🙂

  • These are great tips! My next goal as a blogger is to definitely start attending more conferences.

  • I have been wanting to participate on some twitter chats. What are your favorites?

    • I think I’m going to do a follow up post and go through my old schedule of Twitter chats since someone else asked too! But off the top of my head, I really enjoyed Ambionista, CreateLounge, and MillennialTalk!

  • Girl you are such a boss babe!!! Love all these tips

  • Love these tips and I agree. I am an executive recruiter and its ALLLLL about the networking! I need to do more of it in my blog life!

  • All great tips! I think going to trainings, conferences, etc. are HUGE for networking! I wish I had the chance to go to them more often!

  • I loveeee these ways to network – I am so glad you didn’t say ‘just attend events’ because honestly, I hattteee those (from what I have experienced). I would love more info on your twitter chats!!

    • Ha! Yeah I feel you! I learned that there are a lot of different types of events though, so like going bowling was really chill, but a more still “lunch and learn” isn’t really for me. I think I’m going to do a follow up post on twitter chats I recommend since some other people have been asking! Off the top of my head, Ambionista, Create Lounge, Millennial talk were all ones that I used to attend regularly!

  • So many great tips!! I’ve been wanting to network more so bad lately but I have horrible social anxiety. These are really good tips though. I’m going to have to try some out 🙂

    • Let me know how it goes! I like that a lot of these you can do in the comfort of your own home too because I know the social anxiety struggle can be so real!

  • I’m trying to build on number 7 by connecting in some way to any new readers to see what makes them tick and how I can help them. Also, twitter chats have the added bonus of improving my typing speed, ha!

  • Question – what is your take on adding people to your mailing list? Should you ask clients if you can add them or just go ahead and do it? I’ve had professionals I’ve hired (mortgage brokers etc.) add me to mailing lists but have felt hesitant about adding my own clients.

    • I would always ask! It’s against the SPAM ACT I think to just add people – they have to opt in. It’s a major pet peeve of mine when people add me to their list just because they had my email actually! Your clients will opt in if they want to in my experience!

  • Great tips. I’ve been wanting to go to a blogger conference for a while, but the introvert in me is holding me back! But I’m planning to go next year, regardless!

    • Do it! I’m so with you, i was nervous but really enjoyed them! I wrote a post on my conference experience as an introvert (linked above). Do you know which one you’re going to attend yet?

      • Oh, I read that post! It inspired me to want to go even more. I’m not sure. I thought about the BlogHer conference a lot and I know I want to go to a Fohr Card conference. There are just so many options!

  • Yolanda

    Really good suggestions. I am bad at networking – I know how to do it but have always been bad at asking for anything! Yes, I have to get past this 🙂

    • Ahh I’ve totally struggled with that too! It helps me focus on doing more for the other person, seeing how I can be of value, and just building the relationship. Then when I need something it happens a lot more naturally in general conversation, rather than me feeling like I have to go out of my way to chat em up for a favor if that makes sense lol

  • I used to love participating in Twitter chats. It was such a fun way to network for me.

  • Corey Wheeland

    Networking is so important even though sometimes it’s hard for my introverted self to do. Going to a conference is on my blogging bucket list!

  • Lauren

    Awesome tips! Being an introvert can be so awkward when networking one on one. I never know what to talk about!

  • Amanda Delgado

    These are some great tips and reminders on how to be professional. It is hard work networking the right way but it pays off in the long run. Love how you mentioned responding to every message. That is something I am trying to improve upon. It is difficult to keep up with everything but when you stay organized it can make the he world of a difference.

  • Bibi Camilo

    Surprisedly, Twitter has been one of the greatest networking resources. Twitter chats were a great way to connect with professionals even before or on my way to an event. Great post!

  • Thena Reading-Franssen

    Responding to every email is key. I cannot stand when I don’t get an answer, a reponse…anything! I have a 24 hour rule!

  • Networking, so far, has not been my thing. I’m a little scared to start, but I know that when I actually do I will achieve things. It’s on my to do list. Great tips!

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    Networking is the absolute best. I love being a part of different communities that network together. I still haven’t mastered the art of responding to every message. That one is tough for me.

  • Anna Hubbard

    These are amazing tips, Rachel! I definitely want to get more networking done since I’ll be graduating college this semester (eep!) & I want as many opportunities as I can get! I’ll be sharing this on Twitter today!

  • I’ve been wanting to attend some networking events for creatives in town but they all take place during work hours! I work a regular 8-5 so it just doesn’t fit in my schedule. They always look like so much fun!

  • I like attending conferences the most. There’s just so much information and then you have fun during/afterward! This giveaway sounds amazing!

  • I definitely haven’t attended any networking events or conferences yet but these are definitely helpful tips for when I get the chance to!

  • I wish there were more events near me so I could network — but then again, I’m so introverted too. LOL !

  • Adriana

    Networking is huge! Totally agree with all of your points, and answering every message is a must! Love this!

  • Love all of the points you made! I definitely need to check out some conferences soon!

  • These are really great tips! I need to get better at and do more networking in the blogging world for sure! In the email marketing world, conferences and LinkedIn were always my best tools for networking.

  • SO many good points here. Networking can really make or break you in your career, especially if it’s one that deals with people. I always encourage my readers (mainly college students) to start networking in school because you never know who could help you land a job in the future!

  • These are all great networking tips! Conferences have been so helpful for me and I’ve been able to meet so many other industry professionals by going to conferences and events!

  • I have recently started attending substantially more networking events for my future career. I used to feel like networking was super schmoozey and sleezy but now I realize it is just professional friend making and can ACTUALLY be fun!

  • Such an awesome giveaway! Sometimes I wished I lived closer to a big city so I can attend more events/conferences ha.

  • mckenna bleu

    Great giveaway!! Attending events is definitely helpful with networking. Meeting new people with the same interests is always fun too.

  • Robin @ And Then We Tried

    Great tips! Definitely need to step up the networking game.

  • My FAVORITE way to network is at conferences/events, but in the “off” times – when people aren’t expecting to be networked with. It’s the BEST time to make genuine, memorable connections!! (Like in the elevator, etc)

  • I love that you talk about events and conferences because that is where I have been able to meet a ton of professionals in the industry and make connections. I’ve also been able to learn from those experiences as well. Love your post and insight on this, girl!

  • Kalaw Sarah

    These are the things that I am not doing right now. I will try some of the tips here.

  • These are great tips. I especially love 5 & 6 – People poo-poo on responding to every message, but I’ve made amazing connections as a result. Also, Twitter chats are just so fun! I wish they were still as popular as they once were.

    • P.S. Great giveaway. Fingers crossed! 🙂

      • ahh fingers crossed! and totally agree about twitter chats! I feel like there used to be SO many more but now everyone seems to be doing masterminds and podcasts!

  • Joscelyn | Wifemamafoodie

    I admit I haven’t been the best about attending workshops and conferences (introvert problems!) but I do try to respond to every email & message that I can. A lot of opportunities have come from some direct messages!

  • Angeline Holub

    These are such great tips! It’s so important to network and so much fun getting to meet other bloggers.

  • Twitter chats are my personal favorite way to network, I’ve met so many people that way! Also I try to respond to every single message as well!

  • Sydney Power

    it is so great to network, it is such a powerful tool!

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    Wow these are awesome tips! I’ve been meaning to work on networking!

  • Networking is so important! These are all great ways, especially for bloggers!

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