Are you looking for ways to boost your earning power in addition to going back to school? There are a number of options that could make you a more valuable candidate in the eyes of employers. In addition to upgrading your skills with technical courses, use the power of networking to increase your paycheque.
Always have a business card on hand.
Never leave the house without your business card. Opportunities for network abound, and you never know when you’ll meet a hiring manager while making idle chitchat during your daily coffee run. Passing along your card is low-pressure, low-commitment, and easy even for introverts. To make the most of your card’s impact, choose a creative design and be sure that your contact info or website is clearly displayed.
Keep social networking profiles current.
Recruiters often spend time browsing through LinkedIn profiles in search of qualified candidates. Keep this and other social networking profiles up-to-date. You can maximize the impact of your online presence by joining like-minded groups and industry forums. Networking through online channels could lead you to learn valuable information that could allow you to perform more efficiently in your current position, or alert you to a more lucrative opportunity.
Sign up for industry organizations.
Although online networking is de rigueur for professionals these days, don’t forget about the more old-fashioned forms of networking as well! Sign up for professional organizations in your field, or join an alumni group for your university. Attend meetings or conferences that allow you to learn new skills and improve your CV, while building a network of peers.
Volunteer at networking events.
An even better way to get involved with networking events is to work from the inside. This is particularly helpful if you find events awkward. Working at one gives you a reason to be there, and lets you talk to everyone from the attendees to the speakers. You’ll meet a lot of people along the way, and make potentially more valuable connections.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate salary.
If you do leverage your new skills and contacts to find a better job, don’t forget to speak up for yourself during negotiations. Use your connections to find out what you can expect to earn in your geographic region, and use this as a guide to getting a better wage.
Follow up with new leads.
Finally, one of the primary rules of Networking 101 is following up with new contacts. It’s all well and good to pass your business card along or meet with a mentor, but if you don’t follow up with a short email or even a text within the next 48 hours you could lose that lead – and the boost to your income it could have provided. A simple follow-up question or thank you goes a long way.
By taking the time to put yourself out there in your current position through networking channels, you could put yourself in the position to stride right into a new one!
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