Now that you have your degree and have put your career into motion, how do you keep it in motion? Why, networking of course! You can find mentors and career growth opportunities just by keeping in touch with the people you’ve met over the course of your career.
Networking doesn’t have to be a business card grab-game with sweaty palms and awkward elevator speeches. It’s the 21st Century and time to update your definition of networking with these five ways to establish and build your professional network:
1. Social Media
Keep in touch with industry leaders and engage often on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. By definition, social media is a platform used for social networking and it is fun and free. Friend and follow other professionals within your line of expertise. Be sure to congratulate them on achievements and to tag them in your industry-relevant content sharing.
Consider writing articles on your LinkedIn profile and demonstrating your ability to be a knowledge leader in your industry. Share news-worthy content and join professional groups. Build your name recognition within your industry by being visible on this highly regarded professional networking platform.
3. SMS/ Mobile Groups
SMS networking is very effective but challenging to establish yourself. You might have heard people talk about the amazing conversations and events that come out of their WhatsApp Group, Google Group, Facebook Group, etc… Your invitation to one of these professional mobile-based groups is a great way to build comradery and further cement professional relationships because the ability to access individuals on an instantaneous basis feels very personal. Not getting an invite anytime soon? Create your own group.
Many professionals use blogging as a form of networking because it keeps their business relevant. Not only do you get to get your chance to shine as a professional in your area of expertise, but blogs also give other professionals an opportunity to contribute to the conversation and share your advice. Couple your blogging activities with social media networking for maximum effect.
5. Community Events
The tried and true way to establish and build your network is to attend events. These can be work, industry, professional or even interest-based events like book clubs and hiking groups. The fallacy of networking is the idea that you have to be purposefully and awkwardly meeting new people. The reality is that the more often you attend a recurring event, the more you get out of it. You start seeing the same people and getting more information on who they are and what their business is.
If you’ve been forcing yourself to meet strangers that you end up forgetting the minute they walk out of sight, your networking mojo just needs a tech refresher. Use all of the high tech tools this century has to offer to really keep your career moving in the right direction.