We all know that a success factor for any professional is the breadth and depth of their network.
Maybe it’s time for a new job, or you are considering switching careers. Doing so would create an opportunity to reboot your professional network. We need to be less passive to reenergize our professional networks.
The advice offered in this article will help you navigate the intricate world of networking with finesse.
From optimizing your LinkedIn profile to seizing networking opportunities and nurturing valuable connections, these strategies will empower you to expand your horizons and thrive in a world where who you know can be as critical as what you know. Embrace these insights, set your networking goals, and embark on a journey that will enrich your professional life and create a lasting impact on your career trajectory.
Get more active on social media
LinkedIn is the most important social media platform for business professionals, and if you’re not active, you’re most likely missing opportunities to connect with people who could help you.
Brush up your LinkedIn profile by ensuring your avatar is a professional picture, your “about” section is engaging, and your experience area has been updated. You will also want to update the headline of your profile section to briefly describe who you are or what you are looking for, such as being open to networking or looking for new opportunities.
There is no need to post multiple times daily or randomly comment on as many posts as possible. Start with going out once a week and commenting on at least one post, as this will help to reboot your professional network.
You can use social media platforms to connect with companies and people within your industry. It’s a great way to start a conversation with people before meeting them in person. Send a message to professionals you’d like to connect with, including a brief outline of who you are and why you’d like to connect.
You can also join our professional group on Facebook called the Business Continuity, Crisis Management, and Resiliency Professionals group.
Plan and commit to networking opportunities
If you are interested in rebooting your professional network, the first step is to find relevant networking opportunities. A great place to start is to attend a local chapter meeting. Once you have identified a meeting you want to attend, mark it on your calendar and commit to attending. By making time on your schedule, you are more likely to make it happen.
Another great opportunity is to attend an industry conference, convention, or seminar. There are several business continuity-specific conferences, such as the Disaster Recovery Institute International’s annual conference and the Disaster Recovery Journal’s fall and spring conferences. Expanding beyond business continuity, you can go to Secure360, which offers governance, professional development, and cyber risk sessions.
When you get to these events, spending time talking to people you already know is tempting. To expand your network, you need to commit to speaking to at least one new person at each meeting. Remember to be confident and genuine.
Deepen existing relationships
As you reboot your professional network, adding people to the network and nurturing existing contacts is essential. Don’t wait until you need something to contact an important colleague. Instead, intentionally contact a colleague when you don’t need anything.
Making time for monthly networking is a great way to develop those existing relationships. Follow the below steps to make the most out of your monthly networking:
- Pick six people you want to build a better relationship with over the next 12 months.
- Pick one day a month for your networking lunch or coffee.
- Remember basic networking tipslike making sure you’re offering value during the conversation, asking them about their interests and accomplishments, and using good eye contact.
- Don’t forget to follow up within a few days to thank them for the meeting and suggest another lunch or coffee within three months.
Set networking goals
Set an achievable goal for networking during the year. It could be that you want to have coffee with one new person a month. Maybe you’d like to be introduced to someone you admire in the field. Or it could be that you want to set up weekly networking meetings with a career coach to talk about networking goals for the future. Whatever your goals are, set them and stick to them.
Whether you are networking in person, at a significant event, or through email correspondence, never underestimate the power of a good thank you. Let others know when they have positively impacted your career, and thank them for offering up time to help you succeed.
Remember that you never know when someone you meet will turn up again in life; be mindful to stay positive, professional, and keep your bridges intact. The industry may seem big now, but as you get to know key players, it will appear to get smaller and smaller. Sometimes, who you know is just as important as what you know.
Whether you are looking for a new job or just connecting with more professionals, this article has provided a roadmap to cultivate meaningful connections, both online and in person, while emphasizing the significance of maintaining a positive and professional image throughout your journey.
As you embark on this path of continuous growth and relationship-building, remember that networking is not just about seeking opportunities; it’s about nurturing authentic connections and offering value to others. By setting and achieving your networking goals, staying grateful, and remaining open to new encounters, you are securing your professional future and contributing to your industry’s collective success.