Networking is all about growing relationships by sharing information and finding support in others. Expanding your network is an easy way to help you get closer to reaching your career and life goals. Here are 3 ways to grow your professional network with connections.
1. Utilize Social Media
In today’s world, social media opens up incredible possibilities for strengthening your professional network. When you are networking online, approach it as how you would interact with others in the real world: connect with people personally by finding common ground, and then build trust and long-term relationships, rather than one-time transactions.
The most common and popular professional social media site is LinkedIn. It is one of the easiest ways to grow your professional network. By connecting with coworkers, friends, classmates, and others, you are able to expand your network and meet new people with similar goals and passions to you.
Your network starts from your existing relationships, so putting effort into connecting more regularly with those colleagues, clients, and mentors, will grow your network immensely.
2. Do Not Limit Yourself
Most people think that their network should simply consist of others in their career or industry. However, by doing this you are limiting yourself and your potential network. It is valuable to make connections with others that share your passions, even if they are outside of your career field.
If you have a hobby or special interest you feel passionately about, don’t shy away from attending these types of events as well. In addition to developing a professional network within your field, it is valuable to expand your network with people who are not in your industry but just share a common passion. You never know where that could lead you!
3. Attend Networking Events
This is one of the simplest ways to expand your network. By attending networking events, you will be able to meet many new people in a similar position to you, who also want to expand their network. Various places such as colleges, professional associations, communities, and chambers of commerce, hold these events so make sure to check local newspapers or online calendars for upcoming events.
Networking is a reciprocal relationship, so it is important to help others, while still growing your own network. By working to expand your network, you will be able to create meaningful connections that will help you along your professional journey. You never know when an interaction may lead to a new connection.