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We please to share a guest article from Kent Elliot.
Let's be real: you could have the best of skills and qualifications, but if you lack a network, you're already falling behind. According to a study in the Applied Journal of Psychology, 95% of professionals agree that business relations and career success opportunities are elevated through networking. As people approach their retirement, they realize a reduction in their contact list for networking.
Want to change that? Follow these tips by the Seniors Helping Seniors.
Drop All Expectations
You can't go into networking with lofty dreams of finding your dream opportunity the next day. Contacts need to be nurtured with care and time. There are two primary approaches to networking:
- Transaction-driven: When you reach out to people with the expectation that they will do something for you, such as forward your resume or give you a referral.
- Relationship-driven: When you reach out with zero expectations; only wishing for advice or to learn from their experience.
The second approach is best suited for most, as you’re likely to get better results when you build a relationship on trust.
Find Something in Common
Always look for something that connects you and your potential contact. For example, perhaps you both frequent the same senior community center, or your grandchildren are enrolled in the same nursery. Start attending networking events or meetups in your area - you never know when you may find a friend or business partner!
For example, many seniors get into flipping houses as they have the time and money to embark on an ambitious project. If you find someone with a skillset that complements yours - for example, design or contracting experience - you already have the resources to embark on your next business project!
If you follow relationship-driven networking, curiosity is imperative. Ask your contacts lots of questions - not to secure your next position, but rather to get to know them as individuals. Keep things casual, and ask them about their work interests, hobbies, and career-path-related questions. Older adults typically have lots of experience and career trajectories under their belt, so be sure to pick their brain on that. This way, you'll find out about volunteering experiences they might have enjoyed.
25% of the volunteering population comprises seniors, who enjoy volunteering to fill their time and foster genuine connections. If you get a great referral from someone who's worked with an organization before, you'll be all set up for a rewarding and fulfilling volunteer experience.
Stay in Touch and Top-of-Mind
Simply put, you'll need to remind your network you exist. It's as easy as sending a thank you note after you meet or sending them an email letting them know you implemented their advice a few weeks later. People love to know they've been of help! Continue building the relationship by reaching out every month or so. You can also dress up emails to people in your network by designing logos or using graphics in your email; a free logo design maker can make this process quick and simple. This will certainly keep you on their radar and top of mind, which might make them consider you for any opportunities that come up.
And remember - networking is reciprocity! If you build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect, you'll be able to reach out with opportunities too! For example, if you're starting a non-profit or business, why not seek advice from your network or even bring a contact into work with you? Just be sure that you'll work well together.
Our relationships are our greatest assets - so keep at it and network away.
Seniors Helping Seniors provides quality in-home care that allows older adults to continue living independent lives.