Networking for professional purposes is definitely necessary, especially if you’re ambitious. Here are a few things to think about.
Previously on SiliconRepublic.com, we have looked at how to improve your networking skills as an introvert and how to build a network at the beginning of your career.
Now, it’s time to take a look at targeted networking, or networking for success. Presuming you want to expand and cultivate a good network, you will need to put in a bit of effort.
Anyone can add indiscriminately on LinkedIn or bust out the auto-reply function on most email platforms. It takes consistent work to actually build a quality network – one that will have your back, help you out or even inspire you.
Don’t neglect who you already know
While expanding your professional network is important so is maintaining relationships with existing connections.
Don’t neglect or ignore people you know professionally because you’re hyper-focused on getting to know more people. If you don’t display some degree of loyalty or even gratitude if someone has helped you out, you might get a reputation as someone who is a social climber or unreliable.
Nobody wants to work with a flake or someone who doesn’t appreciate them.
Think outside the box
And think outside your industry. The connections you make and the contacts you have can be from any sector – and often it is better if they are. For businesspeople, getting to know techies and scientists can be very valuable, and vice versa.
Keeping an eye on developments in industries loosely connected to yours can prove a source of inspiration. It can also be a fun way to learn about things you’re interested in.
Join support groups
Industry representative organisations are a great way to meet like-minded professionals and keep yourself up to date on everything that is going on in your sector. If you’re an engineer, this means joining Engineers Ireland, for example.
Representative bodies and unions can provide support when you need it, and they are a good way of connecting with people who might have more experience in your field than you have.
Plus, they often run events, which brings us to our next point.
Making yourself more visible to your network by attending events and taking an active interest in what’s going on in your industry is very beneficial to you if you want to grow your connections.
You don’t have to be constantly travelling around the country, but select events to attend strategically. Think about what you want to get out of the event in terms of making connections. Will there be interesting speakers? Is this a major event for your industry?
It’s also worth remembering that event attendance doesn’t have to always be in person nowadays. There are lots of hybrid events happening, meaning you can attend national and international events from your desk.
If you want to make an impact or a connection at those, you’ll need to take a different approach from the in-person events of course.
Write down the emails of potential collaborators or put a message into the Zoom chat.
LinkedIn is the busy person’s way to grow their network, and for good reason. If you are strategic about making connections on the platform, you can find yourself a very good-quality, niche-as-you-wish professional network.
The vast majority of working people are on LinkedIn, and it is an easy platform to navigate once you get used to it. Why not check out SiliconRepublic.com’s guide to creating a great LinkedIn profile?
If you update your profile regularly enough, you will be able to put on a great professional front to the world.
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