When looking for a new opportunity, it often feels like personal connections will open a lot more doors than you could ever achieve on your own. But building personal connections requires a network, and a strong professional network doesn't happen by accident.
The most important thing to remember about your network is that you'll get out what you put in. You cannot simply collect contact details and then expect these people to help you out when you need it. You need to nurture these relationships and be willing to help out when your network needs it.
But before you can get to this point, you need to think about how you will start to grow your network. Here are a few tips on how to grow your professional network in 2022:
In today's digital world, there is no excuse for not using social media platforms to connect with others. LinkedIn is a great platform to start with as it is designed specifically for business networking.
Utilise LinkedIn to help you connect with people in your industry, share your thoughts on industry developments, and keep up to date with your connections. Don't be passive on the network, make sure you are an active participant so that you can build strong relationships.
You could also use Twitter to join in the conversion. Find relevant Twitter chats by searching for hashtags and offering your advice and support when requested. Just remember to keep things professional and avoid blurring the lines between your personal and professional social media accounts.
Industry events are a great way to meet new people and learn more about your industry. Make sure you attend relevant events and make the most of networking opportunities. Remember to follow up with any new contacts you make so that you can continue the relationship after the event.
And if you can't see any relevant industry events in your area, then you might need to be the one to organise them. Planning your own events will allow you to take control of the format (and the guest list).
You'll also be a key point of contact for everyone attending, and will be providing a valuable service for them to enhance their own professional networks. So, when the time comes to call in a favour, you'll be in a great position to ask.
Industry organisations are a great way to get more involved in your industry and meet new people. If you're not already involved, then consider joining an industry organisation or starting one yourself. There are many benefits to being involved in an industry organisation, so make the most of it.
Many industry organisations will have Facebook groups and networking events where you can get to know the other members and start to build and strengthen your network.
In addition to social media, there are many other ways to be active online and connect with others in your industry. Start a blog or write articles on sites like Medium. Get involved in discussions on forums and in LinkedIn groups.
And make sure you're sharing the content that you find interesting and valuable. By being active online, you'll be building your personal brand and making it easier for others to find and connect with you.
One of the best ways to grow your network is to offer your help to others. When you help someone out, they will often be willing to return the favour. And by helping others, you'll also be building your reputation as someone who is generous and helpful.
So, next time you see an opportunity to help someone in your network, don't hesitate to offer your assistance. This could be something as simple as making introductions when someone is looking for a new job, or sharing a person's post when they are looking for advice or support.
Being seen as a kind, helpful and selfless person will make it easier to ask for help when you need it. If you are seen as someone that only ever asks and never gives, people will be less inclined to help you.
By following these tips, you can start to build a strong professional network that will help you in your career. Remember, it takes time and effort to grow a network, so be patient and keep at it. The relationships you build will be worth it in the end.
These could help to open new doors, help you secure an incredible new job, or change the course of your career. No one knows where a professional connection could take them, so it makes sense to be open to meeting new people that could help to boost your career prospects.