how to grow your professional network

Administrative Expert and Creative Writer

Networking has great importance to becoming successful in professional life. Unfortunately, many people struggle with building a professional network. They find it difficult to connect with people. But in today’s world, especially in the internet era, networking has no longer been challenging. Today, we live in a digital world, where social media and the internet have changed the way we connect with people. Now, you can build relationships with people anywhere in the world without leaving your home. If you are looking for ways to grow your professional network, this blog is the perfect one to read. It will give you 10 tips on How to grow your professional network.

What is Networking and How Does it Actually Work?

Networking is a social activity that can be done in person or online. It’s about connecting with new people and building relationships. In other words, Networking is the act of making connections with other people, usually for the purpose of advancing one’s career or business. It’s not all about exchanging business cards and arranging meetings but also includes developing social capital by attending events and conferences, joining professional associations, volunteering in your community, and working on personal projects to advance your skills.

Networking is all about connecting with new people and building relationships. It is a great way to expand your social circle and learn new skills. When you connect with new people, you can observe their behaviors, approaches, gestures etc. Also, you can learn about their views, thoughts, philosophies etc., which helps you improve your personality.

Networking can occur online or in person. Some popular networking platforms for professionals are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Slack etc. You can also grow your professional network by attending events and conferences, joining professional associations, and volunteering in your community.

10 Tips on How to grow your professional network

Grow Your Professional Network

There are many ways to grow your professional network. You can build your network using social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora etc. Additionally, you can attend programs, seminars and other social activities to connect with people. Here are 10 tips on how to grow your professional network:

1. Enhance Your Social Media Presence

Nowadays days, social media platforms are the most effective instruments for networking. You will get all kinds of people on social media irrespective of age, gender, profession, demography etc. Moreover, expanding your network using social media platforms is very easy. Here, you will be able to interact with people of every profession, age and location setting at home. What you need to do is search them, send a connection request and say “hello”.

Keeping yourself up-to-date on social media will allow you to connect with more people and help you keep yourself up to date with modern trends. To strengthen your social presence, you must keep your profile up to the minute and share useful information on your social feed.

Today, some of the most popular social media sites are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Meetup etc. Facebook is the world’s most widely used social media platform; on the other hand, LinkedIn is mostly used by professionals. Twitter is popular among celebrities, whereas Instagram is most prevalent among the young generation. So, you must choose different social networking platforms based on your target audience.

2. Maintain Contact

Establishing a connection with new people may be the key to growing your professional network but maintaining contact with them is more important. You may connect with hundreds of new people online thanks to social media, but if you do not keep in touch with them, it will not help you anyways. So, you must figure out a way to stay connected with your network.

There are some useful ways to maintain the connection with your network. The first thing is to make sure you contact them frequently and update them about yourself. It would help if you also ask about them to show that you care about your connection. Sharing useful information or resources is another great way to stay connected with your network, but most importantly, you should set up a time to talk to them individually.

It is very important to let your connection feel that they are special to you. To make them feel like that, do not forget to wish them on their special days, comment on their information shared on social media and send them a card on special occasions.

3. Don’t Hesitate to Say ‘Hello’

The first conversation is the most crucial one for establishing a new relationship. People often hesitate to strike up a discussion with new people. But if you want to grow your professional network, you must learn to say “Hello” first.

While talking to someone, it is not obvious that every conversation has to be about business. There should be occasions when you just say “hello” to the folks in your network. This not only demonstrates your care but also demonstrates how you can establish a new connection.

4. Attend Social Events

Social media and online platforms are good but not enough to build and maintain your professional network. Sometimes you have to go out and meet with people in-person to strengthen your relationship. One of the common ways to meet with people is by attending social events like Bar Crawl, Awards Programs, Debate competitions, Sports Events, Workshops, exhibitions, Art Contests, Weddings etc.

Attending social events can help you in many ways. It will help you to connect with new individuals in your industry. Meeting new people from different backgrounds will encourage you to value diversity and inclusion by exploring new ideas and beliefs. Furthermore, it will also help you to keep up with trends and industry news and find inspiration.

Any social event is an opportunity to grow your professional network. In a social event, you will get a chance to meet with people in similar positions as you or a job you’re striving to attain. Therefore attending such events will allow you to have valuable insights on your industry. So, do not miss out on any social events if you get the opportunity.

5. Stay Connected With Former Coworkers

If you work for a long time in an organization, some of your colleagues may become your good friend. When you leave the job, it doesn’t mean that you have to leave the relationship and friendship behind. It is essential for your professional networking to maintain a good relationship with your former coworkers and bosses.

Sometimes people find it awkward to contact their former coworkers and bosses but you can easily do it by following some guidelines. You can start the conversation by asking about their families, vacations or other personal events. You can also share about your life, invite them to different occasions, knock them on social media, wish them on their achievements and so on.

6. Keep in Touch with Your Alumni Association

You may have an alumni association in your college or university. To expand your professional link, you must connect with the alumni association of your college or university. But how do you connect with your alumni peers?

The best way is by volunteering for a role in your alumni association. For example, you can work as the president, secretary or a member of the committee of your alumni association. It will allow you to stay connected with your university’s interesting, accomplished people.

Moreover, alumni offices regularly conduct webinars for professional development. You may volunteer to host one to share your expertise with hundreds or even thousands of other grads. You’ll strengthen your bonds with your classmates, and it may even open up significant new business opportunities.

7. Participate in Club and Volunteer Activities

You can start networking by participating in club and volunteering activities. It can be started from your student life. Your college or university may have different clubs like the cultural club, language club, debate club, programming club, marketing club, blood donors club etc. Attending these club activities will allow you to meet like-minded people and grow your network. You can also take part in volunteering activities. Apart from connecting with new people, you will be able to help people and society.

There are different clubs and associations for professionals to grow their network. MasterMind Groups, Chamber of Commerce, Local Merchant Associations, Rotary etc. are an example of clubs and associations you can join to expand your professional network.

8. Follow up

Networking means establishing a long-term relationships with people. To maintain this relationship, following up with people you connect with at different events and business meetings is important. The best way is to write a follow-up email within 24 hours of meeting with new people.

While writing a follow-up letter or email, it is essential to follow some guidelines such as mentioning a conversation from the event, offering to help, asking to meet up, connecting on social media etc. These strategies will really help you to follow up on your new connection in a proper way.

9. Send Greetings on Different Occasions

Greetings Card

Sending greetings or wishes to your connection in different occecation means that you really care for them. Although social media and emails are the common and easiest ways to send greetings, sending wish cards is still the most startling.

Greetings cards are special because everybody loves receiving a hand-addressed envelope. Also, it helps to share emotions with one another in a real and tangible way. So, do not miss sending greetings cards to your connection on any special occasion.

10. Adapt to Rejection

“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”Shannon L. Alder

It is tough to deal with rejection. Some people find it even disrespectful. But it is very important to adapt to rejection while networking with new people. Don’t worry; it is normal to be rejected. However, you can conquer the fear of rejection only by facing it. Because the more you get rejected, the easier it will get. So the best thing to do is to let go of the fear of rejection from the mind and move ahead confidently.

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