14 Apr How to Grow Your Network
What is a network?
Networking is curating professional relationships for mutual benefit. Maybe your old coworker knows about a position that would be perfect for you; maybe you can offer insight into your industry to a friend’s niece; maybe a friend of a friend can offer advice for your work problem. There are endless opportunities built on chance connections so it follows that the more connections you maintain, the more likely you are to come across opportunities.
Why is networking important?
So what are these opportunities? Opportunities include but are not limited to new job openings. If you are looking for a new challenge you could reach out to your network as part of your search for a new role. Your network can ask their networks and widen your search further. They can advise you on how best to prepare for your application and interview and offer social proof through recommendations and references, making you more attractive to employers.
On the other hand, if you are looking for someone to add to your team, having a wide network could save you time and money advertising if you are able to find a high-quality candidate through your connections.
Even if you are not actively looking for a new role, merely interacting with your network on a regular basis, for example through social media, could inspire you to push your career to new heights by simply learning about the career journeys of others in your field. Having a wide network of connections also opens up opportunities for professional collaboration, which could advance your career. Reading the discourse written or shared by your network can help you keep up with the news and trends in your industry.
How do you grow your network?
The most obvious way to grow your network is through social media, particularly LinkedIn. The platform allows you to connect with friends, colleagues and friends of friends. You can maintain these links, being notified of their professional updates and reading their shared news. No more will you wish to contact that perfect contact about an opportunity and find you lost their contact details years ago!
Don’t feel, however, that networking need be a strictly formal enterprise. Other social media platforms that allow you to connect and communicate with contacts are just as useful. Seize every opportunity to make and maintain connections throughout your professional journey. Keep in touch with old colleagues and mentors, friends and friends of friends. The more connections you have, the more successful it will be.