How to Expand Your Network
Updated: Mar 14
What is so important about networking and how is it going to help your professional career?
Networking is all about building new and positive relationships, while also growing and maintaining old links.
You may be setting up your own business and need to grow connections to make this successful, be looking for a job and want to have a more active approach to your job search, or simply be looking to grow your network for any future possibilities to continue your career with. Below are some useful tips to keep in mind to be successful when networking with others.
Be present on LinkedIn
Having an online presence is more important than ever. LinkedIn is a great website to use not only when looking for new job, but to also be scouted by potential new employers. Having a solid network of professional individuals will not only look impressive to other companies, but also help you have a further reach to companies or industries you may not have at first considered.
You can add information about yourself such as the work experience you had, your education and your skills. This helps to strengthen your profile and attract attention from companies looking to hire candidates.
Have an active presence
Making sure you have all your information on LinkedIn is just the first step, an active role is required too.
Once you have you profile and connections together make sure you are willing to maintain this! Checking new posts and messaging other likeminded individuals is a good way to do this. You could also try giving your input on postings in groups you have joined or writing your own posts on occasion, this can also make others be more likely to reach out directly and have your connections come to you!
Use existing relationships
Utilizing University and college alumni is a great source for networking. You can always try reaching out to old professors or those associated with your university. Networking doesn’t always necessarily mean going to great lengths to meet as many new people as possible, a great link might be with someone you already know! Past colleagues you have lost touch with is another approach you could take to networking, as these are people you would have already had connections with and similar professional interests.
A very obvious tip would be to attend some networking events! These are often held at universities or conferences and are a great way to network, as everyone else attending is trying to do the same thing! Make sure to bring your business card with you so any potential connections can take your contact details. Have a small speech prepared about your experience and professional interests as well to sell yourself. And most importantly follow up with the connections you think could be beneficial for you by sending them a short email or linked message saying it was nice to meet them!
A final pointer would be to not be afraid to reach out to others! Networking requires active participation online and in the real world. You can always ask your connections for any leads or advise in your job search and could come up with some interesting leads this way. Don’t forget that networking is also reciprocal. By potentially helping someone else with a link or advise you can then reach out in the future to have the favour returned. There is no one way to connect and network with people, and don’t rule out meeting people in a social way like through sports groups, friends or family, it is something that can happen anytime!