A strong network of people is one of the most useful assets that a person can have in their job search. A network can range from friends and family, all the way to industry experts and former colleagues. These mutually beneficial relationships allow you to be in touch with someone and their network, while they can be in touch with you and your network.
If you wish to grow your network, you may wonder how it can be done. Well, there are a wide variety of methods and processes that can be used to help you become more connected today. In this article, we will explore why networking is important and the different ways in which you can grow your network today.
Networking can be tough and time-consuming, but it is always worth the effort. Within a work context, the main goal of networking is to help strengthen business connections with industry professionals, find potential job leads, and exchange new ideas. Connect with the right person and you may find that they have the perfect position for you.
Building a network will also help you find ways to develop skills through learning opportunities via your network connections. Utilize this and you can diversify your skillset and present yourself as a more attractive candidate to employers. You can also peer-review yours and others work to find any improvements or recommendations that need to be made.
There are many methods to be aware of when planning to grow your network. Here are some of them:
Decide who you want to connect with and for what reasons. Do you want to find potential job opportunities? Enhance your knowledge of a particular industry? Receive advice? Choose a reason that is valuable to you and make it your target. Goal setting always clarifies your efforts.
Evaluate the network that you already have. Big or small, have you gained everything you possibly can from your connections? Make sure to reach out and ask for any help or advice that can help advance your career if you haven't already. You are most likely to discover opportunity from someone who knows someone you know. Build out your second order connections.
LinkedIn is the networking center of the online business world, and it is a vital tool for anyone wishing to expand their network. Research and join LinkedIn groups and discussions that you are interested in. Be helpful and offer valuable advice to others so that they want you to be part of their network.
If you are shy, connecting with someone in-person can be awkward and difficult. Meeting someone via LinkedIn removes this layer of awkwardness and allows you to communicate with someone from wherever you are in the world. Once you establish a professional online relationship with someone, maintain regular communication to keep them as part of your network as the connection may benefit both of you over time.
If networking online isn't your cup of tea, consider attending some in-person networking events. Many organizations run events that allow you to network with other people in similar professions. Research online or ask around to see if there are any events that are coming up near you in the future.
So far, we have looked at some basic ways of expanding your network. Now it is time to think outside of the box and consider some alternative ways to make new connections. Here are some ideas:
If you have something to offer at a networking event, then why just be an attendee? Instead, pluck up the courage to be a speaker and share some of your knowledge or ideas with a room full of people. Doing this will increase your visibility, build your resume, and you will almost certainly make some new network connections.
Make an effort to communicate effectively with everyone you ever meet. This isn't just confined to networking events, but instead to everyday life. The more people you meet, the more chance there is that they can pass your name on to somebody else. If you put the effort in, there is a chance that you may encounter someone who can help further you and your career.
Volunteering allows you to offer your services for something that you have a passion for. Begin volunteering and surround yourself with like-minded people who support the same cause as you. If all goes smoothly, this should be an easy enough connection to make.
For many people, networking never stops. Every interaction you have can put you in a brand-new position with a contact that you didn't have before. Set yourself goals, put yourself out there, and leave a lasting impression to grow your network. You never know, the next person you see might just have the perfect position for you.