Professional Networking: Expanding Connections
Networking is one of the most beneficial career advancement techniques. Developing and implementing a professional networking strategy is a great way to promote your personal brand, build new business relationships, and discover new opportunities throughout your career.
Although it may seem difficult at times, networking can be very simple and enjoyable. Best part? There is always an opportunity to network. Learn a variety of easy ways to integrate networking into your daily activities:
1. Volunteer at your favorite organization!
Not only are you contributing to a good cause, but you will meet people with similar interests. This is a great time to connect to those in your community as well. Since volunteering usually involves a variety of companies, this is a great place to meet others from various professional fields. Worst comes to worst, you are not able to network. No problem! Volunteering also adds value to your resume.
2. Attend a variety of events
Networking is a huge part of every event hosted by any company, school or organization. Luckily, there is always a variety of events! Although it may seem intimidating, it’s essential to put yourself out there. This is the time to freely talk about who you are as a professional, and where you want to go with your career. Be confident and do your research prior to attending these events to make it easier for you to network. You can find these events through University websites, or sites such as Eventbrite and Meetup. Do a quick search in the fields you’re interested in, and you will find many opportunities available around your community. If you know of a specific company you’d like to interact with, visit their website regularly to check for their upcoming events as well.
3. Networking with those around you
Networking can be as easy or as complicated as you make it. Sometimes the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis, are the best to network with. Whether it’s at school or at your current job, make an effort to get to know your peers. Great opportunities and friendships may come from it. Especially as a student, networking is very simple and beneficial during classes. This is the perfect place to get to know a variety of future professionals.
4. Get involved
Get involved in clubs or organizations that interest you! Tap into your community resources and see what associations or groups are present. This allows you to make great connections while enjoying a certain activity. Since these memberships are usually long-term, it relieves the pressure from trying to make a connection in a five minute conversation. Instead, it’s about getting to know others who may be able to help you in your career down the road.
5. Social Media
Finally, a great way to stay connected to those you met volunteering, at your old job, or at a recent event, is by connecting through social media. Depending on the person, you can find the appropriate network to connect with them. For example, if it’s a professional you’ve only met once, LinkedIn may be your best option. Facebook on the other hand, can allow you to stay connected with your past co-workers or classmates. With the help of social media, you can keep and grow your connections without having to interact with them on a day-to-day basis. Use it to your advantage to expand your network by also strengthening your personal brand.