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Five *Very* Easy Ways to Build your Professional Network

Published by Espresso-Jobs, August 10th, 2017

It’s a fact, developing a solid network of contacts is an important asset for all professionals. In today’s interconnected world, it’s a must.

But it’s not given that everyone is comfortable meeting strangers, participating in industry events or integrating into new groups.

Thankfully, there are solutions. Leslie Steven-Huffman recently explored this matter with networking professionals.

This way to the working world…

In your own backyard Look around you. Are your coworkers in your professional network? Do you know who they know? What about recruiters who contact you regularly and vendors or external clients with whom you work? All of these people can constitute a valuable addition to your network.

Reacquaint yourself with former colleagues Getting back in touch with former colleagues, students and professors you’ve known is another great way to develop your professional network. Did you lose touch with them? Take the time to look up their online profile. Break the ice by sending a congratulatory email about a new job, an accomplishment or ask for updates about a mutual acquaintance. Once you’ve re-established contact, invite them to join your network and endorse your skills on LinkedIn. Above all, stay in touch!

Get noticed To build your network, you need to stay visible and easy to contact. Join groups or communities of professionals in your field of interest. Peggy McKee, CEO of Career Confidential, highlights the importance of ensuring your online presence, asking and answering questions on discussion boards, voicing your opinions as well as sharing links, articles and comments. According to the job search specialist, this is a great way to make yourself known. Larry Kim, CEO of Mobile Monkey and founder of WordStream, recommends that you concentrate on one area of specialization so as to differentiate yourself from other professionals in your field.

Follow other people If you want more followers, follow others! From industry leaders to business leaders to coworkers, share their publications and tweets with your network. If someone talks to you about a project, offer to help them. Mutual support is a basic principle of networking. If you offer to help with a presentation, seminar or online conference, there’s an excellent chance you’ll attract the attention of other professionals you follow.

Do your homework! Always do some research on the people with whom you want to network. Follow them on social networks to stay up-to-date on their activities. When you get in touch with them, get the conversation started with their recent publication or a project that matters to them. As Larry Kim explains, this will keep your contact from feeling like they’re talking to a perfect stranger. After an event, connect online with the people with whom you spoke. Refer to your conversation and let them know you’re eager to follow them.

Lastly, are you intimidated by networking events? Bring a friend who can lend you the support and confidence you need to interact with new people.