5 Ways to Expand Your Professional Network
It’s not always what you know, but who you know.Networking. Everyone does it but how do you do it well? Even the lowest paying positions have applicants and those dream jobs with great benefits and high pay? So how do companies decide who to hire? Often, it becomes a game of who you know. A large professional network is a great way for potential job seekers to get their foot in the door when applying for a job. Employers prefer to hire the candidate they know, so applicants with a larger professional network have an advantage over those who don’t. A strong network is helpful beyond just getting a new job though. Creating professional relationships can help bring new clients to your firm, connect you with industry leaders, and help you grow in your field.
Not only is volunteering a great way to give back in your community, it’s also a great chance to network with people in the area. Bonding with other professionals over shared interests is a great way to start a professional relationship. The relaxed atmosphere will also take the pressure off you and keep the situation from feeling forced.
Use online resources
LinkedIn is a great tool for anyone who wants to quickly grow their professional network. Just creating the account isn’t enough though; make sure to actively update your profile and connect with others. Share industry news and relevant information about what you are currently working on or topics you are interested in.
Asking to pick someone’s brain regarding the work they do or their organization is a great way to build up your network. The opportunity to have an in-depth interview with someone will open the door for future contact. This is an easy way to connect with people you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet.
Attend events and workshops
The easiest way to meet new people is to just get out there and do it. Going to local events will enable you to meet a lot of people and will allow you the opportunity to have face-to-face conversations. You can pick and choose what kind of events you go to based on what best fits your needs. The most important thing to keep in mind is that networking is about more than just handing your business card to as many people as possible. Don’t make it all about you and remember that you are trying to build a lasting professional relationship.
Let The Other Person Speak
When networking, be sure that you don’t do all the talking. The key to being a good conversationalist, is being a good listener. If you have asked another person for advice or their opinion, make sure they have the opportunity to offer it and tell you. Or perhaps they are looking for you to add value to their work. If you do all the talking, the person may feel you are uninterested in what they have to say and unsure what action to take with the information you have supplied. Your best asset may just be communicating well with others.