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Start Building Your Own Personal Network for Career Success Today

April 23, 2021

From marketing to sales to recruitment, business professionals like you need a strong industry network for your business to reach its full potential. Not only does your network provide you with insights and updates to your industry, your network also offers a wealth of leads and sales to boost your bottom line

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From marketing to sales to recruitment, business professionals like you need a strong industry network for your business to reach its full potential. Not only does your network provide you with insights and updates to your industry, your network also offers a wealth of leads and sales to boost your bottom line. =

Professional networking requires intentional steps to create and maintain relationships with people who can help you to further your career. The people who make up your network can offer essential advice and valuable guidance to advance your career. 

However, starting from scratch can be challenging. Business school and industry events offer many opportunities to meet people.  But how can you network if you are in a new city or branching out into a new industry? What steps can you take to establish a professional network that offers mutual support and assistance in a new environment? 

Take a look at five tips you can use to build a strong, organized, professional network from scratch. 

1. Keep Your Fingers On The Pulse Of Your Industry

As you begin to network, it’s crucial to stay informed on what’s going on in your industry so you can speak the language of other professionals in your space. Soak up all the information you can by subscribing to relevant newsletters, follow the news, and track your industry’s thought leaders on social media. 

If you are unsure who to follow, search for relevant industry topics on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to gauge who is active and admired in your professional community. You can even begin building your professional network by interacting with these people through comments and “@” mentions. 

By staying up to date on the latest developments in your profession, you will be able to craft engaging icebreakers and carry out meaningful conversations about professional topics. 

2. Leverage Social Media To Connect With Fellow Professionals

Social media platforms have revolutionized the networking process. Between Facebook, Instagram, and the professional networking powerhouse, LinkedIn, there are many ways to build your professional relationships from the comfort of your home. 

Many professionals rely on their LinkedIn profiles for introductions, referrals, professional reviews, and references, all of which come in handy when looking for a new job or networking with a potential client. 

Add anyone you interact with professionally to your LinkedIn network. Even if the contact were brief, every new person added would expand your professional network. This will provide an excellent opportunity for you to interact with industry members in other areas who can offer critical insight and advice. 

You can also use LinkedIn to get to know someone before you interact with them in person. Whether the contact will be a sales call, a job interview, or just a networking event, knowing essential background information will give you an advantage

3. Always Look For Networking Opportunities 

As a kid, you were probably told that the best way to make friends was to “get out there” and make friends. Sure, it’s not easy in practice, but that advice is helpful when it comes to growing your professional network. 

Networking doesn’t have to be limited to professional meetups and conferences. Try making new connections at: 

  • The Airport: Strike up a conversation with someone in the waiting area. Even if it doesn’t lead to a new business contact, it’s excellent networking practice for introverts.  
  • Sporting Events: Taking in a game at your alma mater or in your city is an excellent opportunity for new contacts. 
  • Events For A Different Industry: Branching out to a related industry may bring new opportunities! 
  • The Comments Section: Check out the comments section of your favorite industry blog or YouTube channel; you may connect with someone and swap ideas or collaborate on a project. 

Although expanding your social network is challenging during this time, keep an eye out for opportunities to make new friends: organize online book clubs, attend local events, and always follow up with new contacts. 

Even if they aren’t directly working in your industry, they may know someone who can give you a key advantage. 

4. Ask For Networking Advice 

Just because you are building your network from the ground up doesn’t mean you cannot take advantage of existing relationships. In fact, one of the best ways to build a new network is to find ways to integrate your current network and contacts. This approach is a great way to lean on your current network as you expand to other areas based on your goals. 

Reach out to relatives, neighbors,  acquaintances, or a friend to see if they know anyone in your industry they can connect you with. Don’t worry about putting them on the spot: chances are they will either have no connections or be happy to help. 

Additionally, ask coworkers and supervisors for networking advice. These people have been in your industry longer than you and most likely have built their extensive professional network. It’s a great opportunity not only to expand your business network but ask for career advice and run your ideas past them.

5. Use Technology to Manage Your Professional Networking Efforts

For people with relationship-based careers, managing contacts is extremely important. However, it is very time-consuming to organize, maintain, and store contacts in a meaningful way. 

Here are some ways to manage your professional network online: 

  • Create Virtual Business Cards: Share contact information in one simple, easy-to-create file. Include your social media handles, phone number, and website. 
  • Use A Customer Relationship Manager: Also known as a CRM, this system helps manage customer data and delivers actionable insights and social media integration. 
  • Social Media Platforms: Create social media accounts solely for professional use. This allows you to easily track your professional contacts without having to sort through high school connections or current friend groups. 
  • Utilize Scheduling Tools: Effective networking takes back and forth conversation. Use a scheduling app to keep track of meetings, when you last spoke to someone, and critical notes to help remind you of the interaction. 

Integrate technology into your existing professional networking practices to focus on building relationships rather than the tedious process of maintaining a calendar or meeting notes. 

Build A Stronger Professional Network In Your Industry Today

A well-developed network will help you land a new job, grow your business, and generate critical sales leads. Networking is a crucial skill, especially for young professionals and those breaking into new industries. 

No matter where you are starting from, remember always to be authentic and focus on building relationships before business transactions. You can grow your business, drive more leads, and close more sales just by knowing who to talk to and how to engage with your network in a meaningful way!

Remember that effective networking takes time. Every group of people is an opportunity to gain a new contact, but not everyone will be open to networking. Focus your energies on the most likely prospects. 

Each meeting will increase your network of contacts as you build trust and meet people who can help support your career goals. 

Building A Professional Network FAQs

How much does a digital business card cost? 

While the price varies depending on the features included, you can make a digital business card for free. 

How many connections should I have on LinkedIn?

You should have around 100 connections on LinkedIn to help build your professional network.

What does a CRM do? 

A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system, helps manage, maintain, and utilize customer data.

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