Expanding your network can go a long way in your professional development. It can enhance opportunities for your career and open pathways you never thought were possible. Many people obtain jobs in today’s market from connections they know compared to the experience or knowledge they have.
But the actual process of expanding your network can be difficult if you don’t know how to do it. Here are three practical tips for expanding your network.
1) Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
The first practical tip we have is not to be afraid to reach out and connect. Making that initial connection can be the toughest part, but it’s also the most important.
The great thing about this first practical tip is that it can be easily accomplished. These days reaching out to expand your network can come in the form of going to a networking event or after-hours work social. Basically, anything you can do to let your co-workers and relevant employees know who you are can be considered reaching out. Obviously, you want to make a good impression on your connections when you reach out as well.
2) Connect Online
Another practical tip is to connect online. The internet is a huge bonus the previous generation didn’t get access to. Use it to your advantage and expand your network online. Your digital profiles on networking websites like LinkedIn go a long way in expanding your network. You can connect with current co-workers, past co-workers, and other employees you cross paths with.
Doing this helps others learn who you are and what experiences you possess. You could connect online with someone who’s looking for the exact services you provide, and later down the road, they might offer you a job. Connecting online also helps others track your process as you advance in your career from one profession to the next. Hopefully, you’ll be connecting with similar people in the same field as you. But even if you don’t, expanding your connections online can go a long way in developing your future career.
3) Maintain Connections in Your Network
After you’ve established your connection and connected online, the next step is to maintain those connections so you can have them available if you need to. There’s no point in expanding your network if you never check in with those people from time to time. You have to make sure your connections are still aware of your existence and what paths you’re taking with your career.
Simply checking in every few months or even years is all you need to do to maintain your connections in your network.
How We Can Help
We can help guide you through this process of expanding your network and finding connections in and out of your field. We can also teach you more about what professional development is and how you can benefit from enhancing your abilities to connect with others.