Looking to jump start your networking skills? Learn how to build your professional network from scratch by using your existing connections.
One of the ways that you can improve your career is to use the power of building a professional network.
By building networking you can gain access to inside information on who’s hiring, and provide you with an “in” when you apply for jobs.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. You really can gain a lot more from simple networking but most people fail to take advantage of their existing network or don’t even know they have one!
Why is networking important?
The right networking strategy can help you learn about where the jobs are — and how to get them. At the very least, your networking can provide you with people willing to provide you with references, letters of recommendation, friendships, and much much more.
How to build a network?
Of course, before you can take advantage of a career network, you need to build one. Here are a few of the people that can be of benefit in your career network:
Past and present co-workers can be great additions to your career network. Forge good relationships with those you work with, and keep in contact with a few of your co-workers from past jobs.
Those you associated with in the past — especially if they have moved on to new companies — can be great resources for new opportunities and helping you stay active in your industry.
Your boss can put in a good word for you if you apply for other jobs. Past bosses can also make great additions to your career network.
As your current boss or former boss moves on to better things, you might be the first one recommended for promotion or as part of a new team.
Keep up with alumni from your university days. Many alumni networks can help you find jobs, and keep you in the loop in your industry so you can avoid job search frustration.
I have actually have friends who have received work as a result of an alumni connection. It’s not uncommon at all.
Business association members:
Get active in your local business community, or reach out to wider organizations. There are so many different professional organizations no matter what your industry or interests are.
By attending organizational events you can gain a lot and it can serve as a great way to meet career network contacts.
Your family members can also make great network members. They hear things, and if you mention that you are looking for a job, it is possible to get an “in” somewhere.
Don’t neglect your family connections when it comes to career networking.
Friends and neighbors:
Local friends and neighbors can also make valuable members of your career network.
When you are looking for a job, you can let them know what you’re looking for, and they can tell you what’s available, and put in a good word for you with their own connections.
Many of the people I work with are people I have never met in person. By carefully considering which networks you join, including LinkedIn and other professional networks, you can grow your career network.