If you have a strong professional network, you always have easy access to career advice, support and new job opportunities. But it takes time to establish a career network, and it must be a continued effort. Nowadays, there are many tools out there that can help you expand your career network. These include social media networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn, professional networking events, business organizations and volunteer opportunities. If you have the right approach, over time you can develop deep and meaningful professional relationships that provide value to your career. Here are five strategies to help you successfully expand your career network:
1) Effectively Utilize LinkedIn
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is a reflection of your resume that thoroughly summarizes your skills and experience. Use it to sell yourself as a professional, and clearly state your career goals. To successfully expand your professional network, however, you will to go beyond just establishing a profile. To build credibility to your career network, join industry-specific groups and use them to participate in discussions and share content.
2) Be Specific When Reaching Out to Contacts
To successfully expand your career network, be specific about why you are reaching out to professionals. If you are trying to connect with professionals on social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, remind them how you know them and why you would like them in your network. If you are meeting someone at an event, have an elevator pitch prepared. This is a statement about yourself that sums about your skills and how they will benefit the employer, in 30 seconds or less. To expand your professional network in an faster way, do research before professional networking events if possible to find out which attendees are of interest to you.
3) Be a Good Listener
Often when we talk to others we aren’t giving them our full attention. This can cause us to miss important information about them. If you are trying to expand your career network, pay close attention to what people say when you talk to them. This goes for anyone you meet, anywhere. You never know who could be in a position to help you grow professionally.
4) Endorse and Help Others Professionally
You will be more likely to successfully expand your professional network if you are actively helping other professionals in your network. This means offering them advice, introducing them to other professionals and notifying them of opportunities. LinkedIn makes this easy to do, since you can endorse others for skills and write recommendations for your connections. You are likely to build a good reputation for yourself, which will make others want to help you.
5) Be Prepared for a Google Search of Your Name
If you are sending out your resume and meeting other professionals, there is a good chance people are doing a Google search of your name to find out more about you. If you want to successfully expand your career network, clean up your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks. Make sure any information about you or pictures associated with you paint you in the best light. This means it may not be necessary to have that keg party photo from spring weekend in college floating around on your social networks. Also, if you want to expand your professional network it’s a good idea to start a personal website or a blog around your professional achievements and mission.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.