There are things that just work, no matter what the industry, occasion or decade.
Networking is one of those things.
And we’re not just referring to the more common online methods used today — in-person connections are valuable, too. The reason? It’s all about finding your edge. Applying the traditional way is a tedious process, leaving many job seekers feeling like their polished resumes are sent to a bottomless black box. But candidates who can find a personal link are more likely to land the job. Or even bag a role that isn’t being advertised.
Here are five tips to broadening your professional network — and have fun along the way.
1. Attend a professional event near you
This can be a seminar, workshop or networking event that allows you to meet and interact with professionals who share your interests. When it comes to forging career-based relationships, settings that already lend themselves to these type of conversations are generally the easiest. Questions about a person’s skill set, current role, place of employment and future goals are par for the course. They’re also great introductory touchstones for shy professionals who are not as comfortable meeting new people.
2. Leverage LinkedIn and Facebook
Social media is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to connecting and engaging with, well, strangers. Why not utilize it to grow your professional life? Find Facebook groups that are dedicated to your industry. Pose questions. Interact. And when someone posts a career opportunity, you can act — and already have a personal contact with the company.
When it comes to LinkedIn, the networking process is even easier. This is what it’s for. But the real work is in the details. Maintaining an up-to-date profile is key, and should include projects, examples of your work or other elements that showcase your skill set. You can also tap into your alumni connections through the platform, or reach out to industry experts you admire for insights, leads and advice.
3. Join Meet-Ups and clubs
Who said networking had to stick with the obvious? Many professionals seek outside forums to meet people who share similar interests and backgrounds, career-related or not. Join a local Meet-Up or club — you never know where those new connections can lead.
4. Don’t discount family and friends
Thinking outside the traditional outlets can also be applied with your loved ones. Share your aspirations and goals with friends and family. Because in a world where it’s all about who you know, sometimes relying on who others know can be just the break you need to find your next career opportunity.
5. Tend to your new relationships
Remember: people can sense when your motives are less than genuine. Networking is a mutually beneficial process, so it’s important to approach these new connections like you would any working or social relationship — as people. Send messages to check-in or get an update on what’s going on in their lives. Invite them to coffee or in-person meetings, if you’re comfortable. And be open to sharing tips or leads when you can.
Do you need help finding your next permanent or temporary job? Submit your resume and put our team’s network to work for you!