Although this is the last instalment of my personal branding 101 series, it’s certainly not the least. Through the duration of this short (and hopefully, sweet) series we’ve learned how to self-reflect by digging deep into our values and skills in order to make our mark in the professional world. We then learned how to harness those self-reflections in order to build our personal brand through killer content.
So, what’s next?
As important as it is to build yourself up in the digital space, we can’t forget that who we are and how we act in real life must reflect our digital persona. When your values, ethics and beliefs are aligned with what you say, think and do then your personal and professional life will both become stronger.
In todays social media driven world, where your reputation can be more impactful than your resume, taking the time to connect with others offline is a strong gateway to advancement. Enter: networking.
Before you slam your computer shut at the sight of networking, let me reassure you that it’s not as daunting as you may think. Networking has truly made a world of difference in mine and countless of my peers’ careers so don’t fret just yet.
Networking comes in various forms; from attending industry events, conferences, workshops, going out to coffee, or making your way into social circles and groups that align with your brand – these are all ways you can make your personal brand shine beyond our digital walls. Furthermore, networking not only opens the door to new jobs and opportunities, but it creates lasting relationships that you can build on throughout your career
I went to a workshop recently where a key message was “your network is your net worth” and this statement really resonated with me. In today’s competitive job market, a strategic way to put your best foot forward is to get yourself out from behind your computer screen and start making real-life connections fearlessly and frequently.
But how does one find amazing in-person networking opportunities? No worries – I got you girl. Start with researching on Eventbrite or Facebook Events, two of my absolute favourite online platforms to find out exactly what’s going on in my city. They both allow you to search by category, date and location while also tailoring recommendations for you based on your keywords and recent events.
Additionally, it is typically through this kind of research that you will find various organizations, associations and groups that frequently put on events where you live. Once you come across some groups and, if they align with your personal brand and values, I recommend signing up for their weekly or monthly newsletter so you’re always in the know of what they’ve got planned.
Another option is to research co-working spaces as they are always putting on various events for the local community beyond their memberships. In Toronto, check out spaces such as Make Lemonade, We Work and Love Child Social. I’ve attended countless of events at all three that range a vast list of topics and I left each one with a new key contact to include in my network.
If attending larger events or workshops aren’t your thing – no problem. This is when LinkedIn comes in handy, as this business-minded social network is the ultimate place for networking. Use this tool to join the right groups for your niche, to actively participate in conversations that attract like-minded individuals to your brand and, of course, use their amazing search function to seek out those you want to add to your network and send them a personalized message to meet up for coffee. Nine times out of ten these professionals will be willing to have a conversation with you, especially if you are authentic as authenticity creates an emotional appeal.
I know this may seem overwhelming and, to be honest, putting yourself out there is never easy but don’t let that little voice in your head stop you. I’ve had so many days where I almost cancelled going to that networking night or coffee meet up and but then I pushed myself to attend, often times by myself, and I have never regretted it once.
To help keep yourself accountable, try setting a goal for going to X amount of events or coffees every month and start keeping track of what you go to and who you meet. Once you start building a positive reputation both on and offline, you’ll be amazed of the impact this will have on your personal brand and career.
For now, I’m signing off from my personal branding series but let us know your questions and comments below! If you’re feeling stuck in your career or just looking to meet other like-minded, ambitious individuals, feel free to get in touch and I’ll be happy to guide you in your personal branding journey.
Hi! I’m Kate, a full-time Digital Strategist and part-time wanderluster. You’ll typically find me glued to my keyboard, attending the latest networking event in Toronto or dreaming about my next adventure. Find me on Instagram (@ktetylr) and Twitter (@ktetylr_).