The word ‘networking’ sounds just as stuffy and inauthentic as it can sometimes feel. Which is why in my experience working for Reebok, I’ve come to believe (and embody) that focusing on hard work and making the most of your current role opens more doors than just handing out business cards at a mixer.
Don’t get me wrong: you can’t sit around waiting for opportunities to knock on your door just by getting your daily tasks crossed off, but what you can do is maximize your current job to see where it can take you by incorporating some of the tips below to boost your exposure and earn trust across your company.
1. Never Silo Yourself
In marketing – and many other functions – the debate between whether you should try to become a subject-matter expert versus a general, cross-functional marketing person is a tricky one. But what I’ve come to recognize is that there are very few projects or campaigns these days that are going to only require one particular skill set or affect just one team. So why narrow yourself into one category or expertise?
Being known as a go-to-action-oriented person for any business problem holds more weight than only being able to solve one type of problem.
One way of demonstrating this is by not being afraid to suggest ideas or make comments in meetings that don’t necessarily fall into your set of responsibilities.
“A good idea or a valid critique is worth sharing and will impress and encourage attendees to consider you a generally insightful worker rather than as ‘[your name here]’ the ‘[your job description] person.’”
2. Stick to a ‘Say Yes’ Policy
If you choose to follow just one of these tips, take note of this one: always say ‘yes’ to as many work or extracurricular opportunities that come your way while on the job.
“Accepting all projects and tasks that arise and seeing them through will lend you a reputation of being a diligent person that can be depended on to deliver.”
On the social side, from engaging in a fitness culture if your company has one (we sure do!) to accepting any tickets, invitations, or volunteering opportunities that you’re made aware of, the in-person face-time with new people you’ll experience is networking by its definition. And the icing on the cake? When your company starts to think of you as a yes-person, those opportunities come up more frequently!
3. Make Your Projects Cross-Functional
When you’re tasked with a project, think of ways other departments and teams might be interested in or affected by what you are working on. Not only is this a recipe for a more successful project by considering key stakeholders, but it also brings your hard work in front of others who may not previously know you or what you bring to the table.
In some of my roles so far at Reebok, I have the privilege to work on projects and channels that don’t immediately come to mind to all parts of the business. These can require a bit more networking and support to be successful.
But learning to be bold, and thinking of creative ways to convince colleagues to get involved in your project, not only helps your bottom line, but leaves impressions on many other parts of the organization.