Networking Tips for Creatives: Boost Your Career
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Why networking matters for creatives
  2. Tips to start networking
  3. How to network online
  4. How to network at events
  5. How to follow up after networking
  6. How to maintain your network
  7. How to use networking to boost your career
  8. How to handle rejection in networking
  9. Tips to improve your networking skills
  10. How to measure success in networking

Imagine you're an artist, a writer, a designer or any creative professional. You've honed your skills, created beautiful work, and you're ready to share it with the world. But how do you get your foot in the door? How do you get your work noticed? The answer lies in mastering the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career. Networking is more than just exchanging contact information—it's about cultivating relationships, learning from others, and opening doors to new opportunities. Let's take a closer look at why networking is so important for creatives, starting with why it matters in the first place.

Why networking matters for creatives

Networking is a bit like weaving a tapestry: each connection you make is a thread, and together, they form a rich, vibrant image of your professional life. Here's why this matters:

  • It opens doors: When you network, you're not just meeting people—you're meeting opportunities. Maybe someone knows of a job opening, a gallery space, or a collaboration that would be perfect for you. By networking, you get access to these opportunities that you might not find on your own.
  • It helps you learn: Every person you meet in your networking journey holds a wealth of knowledge. Maybe they've been where you are and can give you advice. Maybe they're where you want to be and can give you insight. Either way, networking is a great way to learn and grow.
  • It creates a community: Networking isn't just about taking—it's about giving too. By networking, you can build a community of like-minded creatives who can support each other, share ideas, and celebrate each other's successes.

So, you see, networking isn't just a nice-to-have—it's a must-have for anyone looking to advance their creative career. It's an art form in itself, requiring tact, patience, and genuine interest. But don't worry, with some practice and the right approach, you can become a master at the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career.

Tips to start networking

Now that we've established the importance of networking in the creative industry, let's dive into some practical tips for getting started:

  • Be genuine: Networking isn't about collecting as many contacts as you can—it's about forming meaningful relationships. Be genuine in your interactions, show interest in the other person, and don't be afraid to share a bit about yourself too. Remember, it's not just about what you can get from them—it's about what you can offer as well.
  • Start with who you know: You don't have to go out and meet a hundred new people—start with your existing contacts. Maybe a former classmate is now working in an interesting role, or maybe your cousin knows someone who could give you some insight into your industry. Don't underestimate the power of your existing network.
  • Prepare an elevator pitch: An elevator pitch is a brief, compelling speech that you can use to spark interest in what you do. It should be concise, clear, and engaging. You never know when you might meet someone who could be a valuable contact, so it's always good to be prepared.
  • Be proactive: Don't wait for opportunities to come to you—go out and find them. Attend industry events, join online forums, participate in social media discussions—put yourself out there and make your presence known.

Remember, the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career isn't something you can master overnight. It takes time, effort, and a lot of trial and error. But with these tips, you're off to a great start!

How to network online

As a creative, you're likely no stranger to the digital world. But when it comes to networking, the online landscape can seem vast and intimidating. Fear not! Here are some tried-and-true strategies to help you navigate the art of networking online:

  • Utilize social media: Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook can be excellent tools for networking. Follow, connect, and engage with professionals in your field to expand your network. Remember, it's not only about connecting, but also about participating in the conversation.
  • Join online communities: There are countless online communities, forums and groups filled with like-minded creatives. Participating in these can open up opportunities to connect with others, share ideas, and learn from industry professionals.
  • Attend virtual events: Virtual workshops, webinars, and conferences are not only great for learning, but also for meeting new people. Don't skip the Q&A or discussion sections—these are often where the best networking happens.
  • Optimize your online presence: Your online profiles are your digital business cards. Make sure they are professional, up-to-date, and showcase your work. This will make a strong impression when you reach out to new connections.

While online networking may feel a bit impersonal, remember that behind every screen is a person. Show sincerity, be helpful, and bring your unique perspective to the table. With these tips, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career online.

How to network at events

Face-to-face networking events can be a goldmine of opportunities for creatives. Whether it's a seminar, workshop, or conference, these events bring like-minded individuals together under one roof. So, how can you make the most of them?

  • Prepare in advance: Research the event, the attendees, and the speakers. Familiarize yourself with the schedule and plan your day. Know what you hope to achieve—whether it's to meet a certain person, learn something new, or simply make new contacts.
  • Dress appropriately: First impressions count, so dress professionally while expressing your personal style. Remember, you're not just representing yourself but your creative brand too.
  • Be approachable: Smile, make eye contact, and show genuine interest in what others have to say. Small talk can lead to big connections. Don't be afraid to initiate conversations and ask questions.
  • Have your elevator pitch ready: Be prepared to introduce yourself succinctly and professionally. Explain who you are, what you do, and what you're passionate about. Make it memorable.
  • Collect and give out business cards: This seems like Networking 101, but you'd be surprised how often people forget. Always have your business cards handy, and be sure to collect those of the people you meet.

Remember, the goal of networking isn't to collect the most business cards, but to establish meaningful connections. Be genuine, be curious, and be yourself. You never know where a simple conversation can lead. So take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone, and dive into the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career at events.

How to follow up after networking

So, you've successfully navigated a networking event. You've made some connections and collected a handful of business cards. What's next? The post-event follow-up is an integral part of the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career.

  • Organize your contacts: It's easy to forget who's who, especially after a big event. Jot down a few notes on the back of each business card to help you remember each person and your conversation with them.
  • Reach out promptly: Wait too long, and you risk being forgotten. Aim to send a follow-up email or message within 48 hours of the event. Keep it professional, yet friendly, and mention something specific from your conversation.
  • Connect on social media: LinkedIn is a great platform for professional networking. Send a personalized connection request, again mentioning something specific from your conversation. You can also follow their company page or connect on other social platforms where appropriate.
  • Set up a meeting: If you feel a stronger connection with someone, or see potential for collaboration, don't hesitate to suggest a casual meeting. A coffee chat can be a great way to deepen a connection and explore possibilities.
  • Stay in touch: Don't let your new connections go cold. Share relevant articles, send holiday greetings, or simply check in every few months to see how they're doing. Consistent, authentic engagement is key to maintaining and strengthening your network.

The art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career doesn't stop when the event ends. It's a constant process of building and nurturing relationships. With thoughtful follow-up, you can transform those business cards into meaningful professional relationships.

How to maintain your network

Establishing a network isn't a one-time task, it's a journey. Let's talk about how to maintain your network, an essential element of the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career.

  • Be proactive, not reactive: Don't wait for someone to reach out to you. Take the initiative to send a quick message or a friendly email. Show genuine interest in their work and their progress.
  • Offer help before asking: The best networks are built on mutual support. If you see an opportunity where you can assist, step forward. This not only strengthens the bond but also makes it easier when you need to ask for help.
  • Create and share valuable content: Sharing useful articles, industry news, or your own blog posts can be a great way to stay top-of-mind. It shows that you're active in your field and willing to contribute to the community.
  • Regularly update your online profile: Keep your LinkedIn profile, personal website, or portfolio up-to-date. Your network should be aware of your current projects and achievements.
  • Plan regular catch-ups: Set aside time for regular catch-ups with your closer connections. This could be a Skype call, a coffee catch-up, or even a shared meal. It's all about keeping the communication lines open and the relationship strong.

Remember, the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career, is about more than just adding contacts to your list. It's about nurturing these relationships, offering value, and growing together professionally. These tips should help you maintain a vibrant, supportive network that can truly boost your creative career.

How to use networking to boost your career

Now that you've built and maintained your network, let's explore how you can leverage it to advance your creative career. This is where the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career truly shines.

  • Seek Mentorship: Your network likely includes people who've walked the path you're embarking on. Don't be shy about asking them for advice or mentorship. Their insights can be invaluable in helping you avoid common pitfalls and accelerate your growth.
  • Collaborate: Collaboration is an excellent way to learn new skills, gain exposure, and produce exciting work. Look for opportunities to team up with people in your network on creative projects, whether it's a short film, a design project, or a blog series.
  • Job Opportunities: Often, job openings are filled through personal referrals before they even hit job boards. By staying connected with your network, you can be in the know about these opportunities and possibly land your dream job.
  • Gain Exposure: Sharing your work with your network is a great way to gain visibility. If your contacts appreciate your work, they may share it with their network, exponentially increasing your reach.
  • Professional Development: Members of your network may host workshops, webinars, or share resources that can help you improve your skills and stay updated with industry trends. By being part of their network, you'll be in a good position to benefit from these opportunities.

As you can see, the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career is not just about knowing people. It's about leveraging these connections to learn, grow, and thrive in your creative career. Remember, networking is a two-way street, so while you're benefiting from your network, also consider how you can add value to others' careers as well.

How to handle rejection in networking

In the art of networking: building connections to advance your creative career, you'll inevitably encounter rejection. But don't let that discourage you. Here are some practical tips to handle rejection in networking:

  • Stay Positive: Rejection is a part of life, and it's important to not take it personally. Keep a positive attitude, and remember that every "no" brings you one step closer to a "yes".
  • Learn from it: Use rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow. Ask for feedback when possible and use it to improve your networking skills.
  • Don't Burn Bridges: Just because someone rejected your proposal now, it doesn't mean they will in the future. Maintain a professional relationship, and who knows, they might even refer you to someone else.
  • Keep Trying: Don't let rejection deter you from continuing to network. Keep reaching out to people, attending events, and building your connections. Persistence is key.

Handling rejection in networking can be tough, but it's a crucial part of the process. Remember, your value does not diminish based on someone's inability to see your worth. Keep pushing forward, and soon enough you'll find people who recognize and appreciate your creative talents.

Tips to improve your networking skills

A crucial aspect of the art of networking is continuous improvement. Here are some strategies to enhance your networking skills and build valuable connections to advance your creative career:

  1. Be Genuine: Authenticity goes a long way in networking. People appreciate realness and are more likely to connect with you if they feel you're genuine.
  2. Active Listening: Networking isn't just about talking about yourself; it's also about listening to others. Show interest in what others have to say and respond thoughtfully.
  3. Practice Your Elevator Pitch: Be ready to explain who you are and what you do in a clear and concise manner. A compelling elevator pitch can spark interest and start a conversation.
  4. Ask Open-Ended Questions: To foster engaging discussions, ask open-ended questions. This encourages the other person to share more about themselves and their work.
  5. Follow Through: If you promise to do something, like send an email or a link to your portfolio, make sure you do it. Following through shows that you are reliable and professional.

Remember, improving your networking skills is a journey, not a destination. Keep practicing, keep learning, and you'll see your network grow and your creative career advance.

How to measure success in networking

Measuring the success of your networking efforts might seem like a tricky task. After all, it's not as clear-cut as counting likes on a social media post. However, there are ways to gauge the effectiveness of your networking and its impact on your creative career:

  1. Quality of Connections: It's not about how many business cards you collect. The real measure lies in the quality of the relationships you build. Did you make meaningful connections that could potentially lead to collaborations, mentorships, or job opportunities?
  2. Follow-ups: How many people followed up with you after your initial meeting? This is a good indicator of how well you made an impression.
  3. Referrals: Are people referring you to others? This is a strong sign of trust and shows that you've made a positive impression.
  4. Opportunities Gained: Have you gained new opportunities — a job, a project, a collaboration — as a result of networking? This is a concrete way to measure the success of your networking efforts.

Remember, the art of networking is more about building connections than numbers on a sheet. Keep this in mind as you continue to advance your creative career.

If you're eager to enhance your networking skills and boost your creative career, don't miss out on Celina Rodriguez's workshop, 'Building & Maintaining An Authentic Network'. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and practical advice on how to build and maintain an authentic network for long-term success in your creative journey.