How to Make the Most of Networking This Summer
Networking — a word that can send shivers down the spine of even the most ambitious among us. Not only does networking often feel awkward and disingenuous, but it also seems like a second full-time job with no promise of payoff. We’re all about making networking less painful — even (especially!) networking for introverts — since it’s such a powerful tool in finding new career opportunities. In an effort to reinvigorate your motivation in these dog days of summer, we talked with LA-based millennial life coach and entrepreneur Jess Hopkins to get her take on the most important networking steps you can take today (bonus: They’re all free!) and hear her super-inspiring story of how one simple conversation can completely change your career.
1. Dust off your LinkedIn page. “In my opinion, LinkedIn is without a doubt the single most effect tool in building your network — and you don’t even have to leave your couch,” Hopkins tells us. “LinkedIn is an amazing resource and everyone should be on it. Period.” She explains that not only can you connect to strategic alliances, “helping you identify who might already be connected to a person or organization you wish to contact,” but “headhunters and recruiters are always searching for great candidates,” and the site gives your resume “24/7 visibility.” Go ahead, beef up your LinkedIn profile now! We’ll wait.
2. Share your vision. Similarly, Hopkins encourages everyone to share their passions, goals, and vision for the future with friends, acquaintances, and other networks: “Too often I find that people don’t really have a clear understanding of what their friends or acquaintances actually do! It’s impossible for someone to keep you in mind for a valuable networking opportunity if they don’t understand your passion and vision for the future.” This means chatting up your spin class buddy about your budding non-profit interests or letting your hair stylist know you’re available for photography sessions. Just don’t leave the conversation one-sided, Hopkins reminds.
3. No, seriously, share! If you weren’t already sold, wait until you hear Hopkins’ story about how a single conversation changed the course of her career. “When I first opened my coaching practice at 23, I continued waiting tables on the side to support myself. I had a regular lunch customer who was very kind, and over several months of small talk he learned I was building a coaching practice focused on teens (at the time). One day he brought a guest with him, who turned out to be the head of a youth department at a local synagogue that I wanted to offer my workshops to. That lunch turned into several workshops for the youth group, which eventually led to being hired for a full semester of coaching at the synagogue. In addition, one of the teens in the group wanted to work with me privately and became one of my very first clients. Not only is she still a client several years later, but I eventually started coaching her sister, who is also still a client!”
4. Expand your circle. Use LinkedIn, social media, best friends, alumni groups, and industry-specific networking groups to stay connected to people who share your interests and goals. These are the people who come with an instant genuine connection, so you won’t feel weird talking about work. As Hopkins affirms, “A personal referral can make all the difference” when it comes to advancing your career, so the more people you know, the better.
5. Be direct AF. Hopkins says the biggest mistake she sees women make is “not making a direct, explicit ask. For instance, ‘Would you be willing to make an e-intro between me and ____?’ Or, ‘What best practices/resources do you think would help me to ____ (improve my skillset, expand my network, develop my expertise)?'” This is especially necessary when you’re asking a personal connection for advice or a meeting — the last thing you want to do is feel like you’re wasting their (and your!) time by not having a goal in mind that can lead to action. This means letting go of the “I’d love to pick your brain” email for now.
6. Be patient, grasshopper. As Hopkins’ own story suggests, a genuine networking relationship can take time to build. Don’t get frustrated with (or give up on) a potentially beneficial relationship just because you don’t see immediate results. Hopkins suggests “keeping the big picture in mind” and thinking about “companies, organizations, and communities that are in alignment with the work you do, so you can keep your eyes and ears open for possible connections.” Having a running list of potential opportunities will keep you primed to make a move when the timing is right.
Do you have an awesome networking win to share? Tweet us @BritandCo to tell us how you took your career to the next level!
(Photos via Getty)
Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)