A professional network is highly valuable for your career. However, if you are starting out, putting together an efficient professional network might seem like an overwhelming task. Striking awkward small talk with a room full of strangers might be the first thing that comes to your mind at the thought of professional networking.
In reality, building a professional network isn’t so cringe-worthy, at least with IJEENI it isn’t. Even better, you might already have a network you never knew existed. So, whether you want to polish up your existent network or create a professional network from scratch, here is a helpful guide.
Prioritize Your Objectives
Find out your objectives behind creating a professional network. For instance, job offers, career mentorship, job offers, career mentorship, or sales leads. This will better help you target specific professionals and prevent you from over-relying on people you might already know.
Furthermore, also determine the type of people who could best help you. You can go as broad as an industry or as narrow as someone working a specific role in a specific company. Once you have an idea about who you should meet, you can easily start searching for them.
Put Yourself In The Job Search Mindset
Often, people tirelessly work to build their network when they are in need of a new job. However, even if you aren’t actively lining up interviews, adopting the job-searching mindset will help you up your networking game and build your network at a faster pace.
The advice in a single sentence is to get out there and make new friends. This, as much as it sounds fun, is super effective too. All you got to do is simply be social - attend meetups, start a book club, or join a soccer team. Make new friends as you go and you will soon have professional connections whom you could add to you growing network.
Find Common Ground
Successful networking is all about building authentic relationships. When professional networking, the easiest way to start a conversation is to find a common topic of interest. You could even attend events and social opportunities that are attended by people who have the same interests as you. For instance, find events like your college’s local alumni gathering, a volunteer opportunity, or a happy hour conducted by your building.
Make It A Habit
To make professional networking work, you ought to make it a part of your daily regimen. Keep adding professional acquaintances to your network daily or weekly. It takes a good lot of time to build your network, so make it a habit to stay connected with diverse people.
Extra Tip: Care About Testimonials
Ever heard the term ‘testimonial economy’?
It is the modern way of introducing ourselves where what we say about ourselves no longer matter. Instead, what others say about us carries 90% of the weight. First impressions are yesteryear, and it is no longer valid when building a social network from scratch. We now build mutually beneficial connections with people who will someday be your personal advocates and promote you.
Regardless of whether you are growing your already existent network or building a professional network from scratch, never stop at initial conversations. Remember that it takes time and there is no easy way around. See professional networking as a source of enjoyment rather than a task. Value your connections, and make them a priority, and you will soon find your doors open to opportunities for the years to come.