With the latest developments in technology and social media, the way we network has drastically shifted over the last 30 years. There are countless opportunities for us to meet people in our professional fields and connect with them on a more personal level both in-person and online. While being able to network is a vital skill, approaching and engaging someone you may not know takes practice and lot of confidence. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of networking and connecting with others.

1. Get Digital

Social media, especially LinkedIn, has changed the way professionals meet and connect daily. Being able to leverage various social media platforms to find those in your industry will help you expand your network and connect not just with others who may be local, but those who may live in other parts of the country and beyond. Being present on social media also allows you to share relevant information, articles, or start important discussions that can help you learn and grow within your industry. Make sure your online resume and profile are always up to date as well—after all, you never know who could be looking at it.

2. Have a Pen at the Ready

Whether you’re networking online or in person, you never know when you may need to write an important name, phone number, or email address down. Since part of networking is making a great first impression, having a pen that matches your personal style is essential. The Sarasa Grand Gel Retractable Pen comes in 6 fashionable barrel colors and has rapid dry ink technology, so all that important information won’t smear. For a more classic style, Choose Different with the STEEL F-402 Ballpoint Retractable Pen. It features a rubber grip that will give you the ultimate writing experience.

3. Use your Resume as a Tool

Your resume should summarize your accomplishments and skills, highlight relevant experience, and be easy to read, all while setting you apart from other applicants. Truthfully, this is easier said than executed—so it helps to have some professional advice and perspective. As you’re networking and developing relationships, use your resume as a tool to reach out for guidance and constructive feedback. You’ll not only learn how to make your resume better, but you might even be able to create an opportunity from the engagement, as well.

4. Be Genuine

Remember, networking is all about relationship building. Be genuine about your interests, where you see your career and industry heading, and the areas you are passionate about. People are more willing to follow up and have a lasting connection with someone who is genuine. These meaningful connections may be the ones that you lead you to new opportunities or provide valuable insights in the future.

5. Be a Listener

When meeting someone new, there can be a lot that you want to talk about but while you want to make sure you have a voice, it’s important not to monopolize or commandeer the conversation. Make sure to ask questions that will help you learn more about the person and their own experiences. There is a lot to learn by stepping back and listening. Be a conversationalist, not a talker. Just like any other skill in your arsenal, networking is important to furthering your career and helping you open new doors. Whether you are networking online or in-person, remember these tips to help grow your network.