Your network might lack a variety of industries or levels or types of contact. One way to do this is by sharing a contact’s content, such as their LinkedIn updates. Having made a positive impression on him years earlier, he gladly introduced me to people in the room who might be helpful to my new business. Five Steps To Creating A Resume Quickly And Easily, A Simple Two-Step Process To Answer A Negative Interview Question Like ‘What Is Your Biggest Mistake?’, 10 Questions If You Are Thinking About Graduate School To Advance Your Career, Job Security Checklist: Assess How Safe You Are In Your Job. }); if($('.container-footer').length > 1){ It was a great way to meet a wide variety of people in my city—and because we all had something in common, starting conversations was easy. I was impressed with her work ethic and determination, and gladly put in a good word for her at a finance company that interested her. “Read up on what your colleague has been doing at work or in the community. “To not have a photo on your LinkedIn profile can look a little suspect, and a photo is a humanizing touch.”. Part of the reason why our networks stagnate is that it’s so natural to focus … Daniel Bortz is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va. You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark. College alumni clubs are a great way to start building a network in your city. (Connie on the other hand sometimes forgets to follow up with even me!) Or, you may rely too much on live meetings and need to embrace social media, direct mail or other approaches that enable you to scale. Make it a priority to get really comfortable on LinkedIn and definitely become a regular, not a visitor on the platform. By honing in on a specific distance, you give yourself a limited, reasonable area you can cover. You may think that the people you know are not suitable for your professional network (e.g., you just know Mom and Dad, and they never worked in your dream career or never even went to college and now they’re agoraphobic and never even leave the house). Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. How to Work a Room (William Morrow, 2014) and “It’s not about connecting with as many people as possible,” she says. $("span.current-site").html("SHRM China "); “It’s about being intentional with who you add.”. You may be worried about putting them on the spot, but don’t let that hold you back; would you be angry at a friend if he asked you to help him out by passing along a connection? It also helps to make this as easy as possible for the other person—for example, by including a blurb about yourself in the request, which can be passed along to the potential connection. Introduction. Explain why you want to connect. Your attitude can create a barrier and turn people off, or it can communicate with people that you want people to interact with you. Instead, develop a monthly schedule of relationship building lunches or coffees. Recently I was able to pay it forward by making an introduction for a fabulous babysitter whom I was about to lose when she graduated from college. Try expanding your social circle by going to meetups, joining a soccer team, or starting a friend-of-a-friend book club—i.e., you invite a few friends to join the club, then ask each person to bring a friend along. Once you know whom you need to meet, you can be on the lookout for him or her. Building relationships is your first priority when networking. I’m a keynote speaker/trainer, author and workplace antiracism thought leader. Remember, that training dollars can sometimes be the first to go!” Be proactive! How to Build Your Professional Network Digitally. Hoey suggests doing your homework and finding out what’s going on in the person’s professional or even personal life. Make sure you’ve connected with professionals you know, including present and past co-workers, managers and other industry peers. If you’re in a situation where you know absolutely no one, my guess is that you have bigger problems than the lack of a professional network – I’m thinking Matt Damon in The Martian type of problem. Author of CONNECT FIRST: 52 Simple Ways to Ignite Success, Meaning, and Joy at Work, Dr. Melanie A. Katzman also suggests doing a bit of homework before you meet with a colleague to encourage a deeper, more substantive interaction. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Remember that growing your network by 20% with quality connections is likely more beneficial than expanding it by 40% with random connections. We’ve all heard it a million times: The best way to create job opportunities for yourself is through your professional network. Whether it’s connections made in your side gig, friends’ parents, a favorite professor, or neighbors in your building, you may be closer to your next career move or networking goal than you think. It may not sound sexy, but a year from now, you’ll be so glad you did it. No reply needed.’ It’s a way of signaling that I don’t have an agenda, and, more often than not, when I write ‘no reply needed,’ I get more responses.”. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. This just might be the most important investment you make in your career this year. Please enable scripts and reload this page. How To Build A Powerful Professional Network Early In Your Career Prioritize Your Objectives. Please log in as a SHRM member. LinkedIn is social media’s staple for professional networking. Find out what they love about SixFigureStart. Workers of all ages—from Generation Z and Millennials to ... Grow … It takes time to cultivate relationships. After all, 84 percent of recruiters said they use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to search for talent, according to However, you don’t know for certain who or what people know. Professionals with really strong networks actually make an effort to build them so don’t make the mistake of being passive and allowing your network to stagnate (or worse).