Networking doesn't always require happy hour small talk.

When you think about networking, you might think about rubbing elbows with industry leaders at fancy happy hours or shaking hundreds of hands at multi-day conferences or trade shows. But networking doesn't always have to be that way (and frankly shouldn't be in the era of COVID-19).

Instead, it's important you learn the best way to network based on your personality, so you can truly reap the benefits. Think: more job connections, new ideas, and expert career advice.

So although it may seem like networking is built for extroverts, that's not the case; there are plenty of opportunities out there for everyone. To determine your go-to networking type, start by taking our personality quiz below.

Quiz: What networking style fits your personality? 

Write your answers down (a, b, or c), then find the results at the bottom and more tips on how to build your network.

  1. Trying new restaurants with friends

  2. Attending big parties, events, or gatherings

  3. Staying in, watching Netflix, or reading a book 

  1. I enjoy brainstorm sessions and your typical watercooler chit-chat, but I need some space to think and work on my own.

  2. I'm happiest when I can telecommute and work out of my home office.

  3. I am happiest working in an open-concept workspace where I can easily collaborate with my co-workers.

  1. Friendly

  2. Charismatic

  3. Reserved

  1. Quantifying my achievements

  2. Keeping it to two pages or less

  3. Bragging about my accomplishments

  1. I put out a dish of candy on my desk so that people will stop by and chat. 

  2. I circulate around the office introducing myself to everyone.

  3. I wait for them to come to me.

  1. Setting up coffee dates and informational interviews with people who can help me

  2. Attending conferences and other events with people in my field 

  3. Researching companies and job opportunities online

  1. I'm nervous, but I'll be OK as long as I have time to prepare.

  2. This is a great opportunity for me to talk about the exciting things I'm working on.

  3. Oh no, this is my worst nightmare.

If you answered mostly 'a' 

You're an ambivert! Your personality falls right in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum.

In many ways, you have an advantage over your strictly introverted and strictly extroverted friends — especially when it comes to networking. Because your personality doesn't lean too heavily in either direction, you have an easier time adjusting your approach to people based on the situation. As a result, you are able to connect more easily, and more deeply, with a wider variety of people.

This trait will come in handy when you're networking for work. Test out a variety of networking opportunities, from casual happy hours and coffee dates to more structured events and large conferences, to find out what is most effective for you. And, yes, you can find these types of opportunities (oftentimes free) virtually during COVID-19.

If you answered mostly 'b' 

No surprise — you're an extrovert! You're a social butterfly who is energized by interacting with friends and strangers alike. You're a go-getter and love taking action, especially when it comes to introducing yourself to new people.

Networking is right up your alley; schmoozing and connecting with others is second nature to you. When it comes to your job search, you'll thrive at large conferences, speed-networking events, and job fairs where there are lots of new faces to meet.

However, to be an effective networker requires more than a quick conversation and a business card exchange at a crowded event. Be sure you're avoiding these 10 common networking mistakes. Oh, and if you're feeling really bold, take a look at some of these unconventional networking icebreakers.

If you answered mostly 'c'

You're an introvert! You prefer to channel your energy into small groups of people. If given the choice, you'll likely opt for a quiet evening with a friend rather than a loud party full of strangers.

When it comes to your job search, this might mean you “hate” networking and think it can't work for you. Well, think again. 

Because you thrive in calm, uncrowded environments, try setting up one-on-one informational interviews over coffee, attending more intimate events like fireside chats and small panel discussions, and dedicating more time to online networking activities. The options are more vast than you think, especially with COVID-19 moving everything online.

To help calm any nerves before these networking opportunities, use these networking tips for introverts

In conclusion 

When it comes to networking, it's important to match your networking style to your personality. If you're an extreme introvert, there's no need to pressure yourself to attend big conferences or speaking engagements. Find ways to network online or in small groups. If you're an extrovert, have at it! You're a natural.

Ultimately, networking is essential when it comes to growing professionally, so find tactics that work best for you and your personality.

Your resume should be as strong as your networking skills. Let our resume writers help you get there. 

This article was updated in November 2020. It was originally written by Danielle Elmers.

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