By Caitlin Fisher, Assistant Account Executive
Networking actually works, and if you have engaged in networking before – which naturally occurs during each and every conversation – you understand its power, whether creating a connection led to meeting a new professional in your field, forming a business partnership, or landing a new job. Society today is formed from a giant web of people, connected to one another through work, personal life, or shared interests. Connections develop from face to face interactions to engaging on social media platforms – which assist in maintaining all types of networks. There is always room to add another thread to your web, so here are five tips on how you can expand your network:
- Get Involved. Join a club or organization related to your profession or hobby. Attend club meetings and events to meet other members and make it a point to connect with someone new each time. This is an easy way to connect and have a relatable conversation because of shared interests or background. These clubs should be fun and treated as an activity you enjoy participating in. The networking-specific events hosted by the club are especially important to attend since the entire purpose of the event is to meet other attendees and exchange information.
- Volunteer. Volunteering for a cause or organization that you choose to support is another easy way to meet people that share similar beliefs or interests. This again can leverage new connections by meeting other volunteers that may run in certain social circles that you would like to become familiar with.
- Don’t forget the past. In order to focus on your future progress, you must not forget about past connections. Grab coffee or lunch with a former co-worker, boss, club member, or college friend. Who knows where they are in their life since you last connected, and by strengthening past links, this may lead to a future link with someone they know or have met recently.
- Use Referrals. Reach out to a connection by phone, email, or LinkedIn, asking for advice or suggestions and if they would be willing to make a few introductions for you to a couple of their connections. Share with them your purpose for reaching out. Maybe you are looking for assistance in your search for a new job in a new city. Whatever it may be, expand your network through your current network.
- Get Social. Think of every place and activity you do as a way to meet someone new. Make connections with everyone, everywhere. You never know who you will cross paths with and what they might be able to offer, even if what they do for work or where they live does not seem relevant at the time. Always exchange information, connect through LinkedIn, and send a note stating that you were happy to have met and connected.
Connections are everything, and good relationships from networking only survive with continual follow-up and effort on your part to keep these links strong. LinkedIn is a very helpful tool in maintaining relationships and staying connected over time. You never know when that person might fit the puzzle at one point in your life or career.