How to Grow Your Professional Network

Posted February 18, 2022 by in Career
shaking hands in office setting

Networking is an important way of forming professional connections that can help you land your ideal job. However, it can also feel stressful, because you might find it hard to put yourself out there. The good news is there are several ways to expand your professional network. 

People Doing Handshakes Over Table

Getting a Better Education

Going to college is a great way to connect with likeminded people who likely have similar career goals to you. Meeting people in your major can help you foster lifelong connections. Keeping up with them after graduation will help you maintain those connections. Plus, getting your degree can be helpful for your career prospects. Going to college can be expensive, although it can pay off. It’s a good idea to look for scholarships whenever you can. You can use a free scholarship search and application tool to get matched to thousands of scholarships and grants. You can build your profile, get matched, and apply.

Have a Presence Online

It’s nearly impossible to advance in many industries unless you have a good presence online. Connecting with professionals online allows you to find people with shared interests. It’s important to try to put your best foot forward when building your online profile. Use professional websites and make sure the information is updated and accurate. 

Make sure you have a professional looking photograph, as well as a summary of your accomplishments. This can give your network a better idea of your goals, abilities, and personality. You will be sharing how you can add value to someone’s network. When you request to connect with someone, try to personalize the message instead of just sending the request.

Engaging with Content

You can keep your connections going strong by engaging with them online. When you find content that they might think is useful, share it with them or on your network. That might be a podcast, blog post, or information about a local event. When messaging someone, let them know why you thought of them and share how it could provide value to them. This is also a great way to be more adventurous with your career because it allows you to explore new and different outlets, information, and platforms, without a high level of commitment or risk. 

Attending the Right Events

There are lots of industry events, including meetups and expert conversations. Try to attend these events, since they give you a chance to connect with others who are also interested in networking. You can talk about topics related to your industry, which will give you a chance to grow. And the information you learn will help you have an intelligent conversation with a potential employer. It’s important to be effective in your networking by engaging in conversations and actively listening. Show you care by asking questions. When you introduce yourself to the group, have a quick introduction, such as your role at the company and where you work.

Follow up with new connections soon after the event, which ensures the connection will remember who you are. You could send them an email or a quick message on a professional social media platform. Mention what you talked about to jog their memory. Take the time to follow through on anything you said you would do, such as sending them some information.