Updated: Jun 23
When you hear the word networking, you may think of a scheduled event where you take your
résumé and elevator pitch and be ready to small talk with every employer you meet. However,
getting into the nuances of networking, there’s really more to it than that. Authentic
networking is about using emotional intelligence (EI) to connect with other people. It’s more
than just asking for a job--it’s about building relationships and using your tuition to read a
room. There are several ways to apply EI to networking.
Being self-aware. Your emotions, motivations, and energy drive how you interact with others.
When you have an awareness of what drives these factors for you, you have a better chance of
a fruitful networking interaction. Knowing who you are at your core helps you establish
relationships both on a personal and professional level. When you are self-aware, you have a
better chance of accomplishing mutual goals with a networking partner. Some tips to develop
self-awareness are to notice your triggers, establish what your values are, and “stop judging
your feelings as good or bad,” according to Forbes.
Have high self-regard. Think of self-regard as a little bit like putting the oxygen mask on yourself
before others in a crisis. It can sound selfish, but it’s actually about self-preservation, knowing
your worth, and what you bring to the table. It’s a critical piece of networking because you
don’t get distracted by comparing yourself to others when building relationships and you can
stand on your own merits. One way to develop self-regard is being aware of how your emotions
Show empathy. Being able to demonstrate empathy to others is critical for networking. It’s all
about showing others that you are listening to them and can validate their feelings. Again, since
networking is about building relationships, being able to meet someone where they are at and
relating to them is helping to solidify the relationship you’re trying to establish. According to
Forbes, to better show empathy, work on developing your listening skills, show more
compassion, and be aware that other people have their own personal experiences to share with
you. It’s not just all about the experiences you’ve had in life.
At the heart of the emotional intelligence you use for networking is being in tune with your
intuition. EI is simply being able to “identify and understand human emotions,” according to
Indeed. The more you practice using your intuition, the faster you’ll be able to utilize these EI
skills. The next time you need to network to find a job, which could be every day because you
never know who you’ll encounter, think about these three qualities you can work on
developing. There’s a good chance you’ll have a leg up on your competition who is more
focused on answering questions perfectly or having an updated résumé ready to go.