Build Your Professional Network Now: Part 2 of 2
Build Your Professional Network Now Part 2 of 2
In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about what a thriving professional network can do for you, and how to build one. Now let’s look at how to work the network you’re building. To continue building those relationships, plan to work your network daily.
Tips for Working your network:
- Start with LinkedIn. Linked In offers a great and simple way to work your network. LinkedIn will inform you daily of birthdays, promotions, new assignments or new jobs for your contacts. This is a great way to reach out, congratulate, and start up a conversation.You can also reach out to contacts on Linked In to say hello and ask how things are going. You want your contacts to remember you!
I recommend spending just 15 minutes per day working on your LinkedIn network, both building and working. It’s a short amount of time that you can easily work into your schedule while say waiting for a meeting to start, or perhaps first thing in the morning? Keeping to a schedule is helpful, but also taking time throughout the day is valuable as well.
- Set up a face to face. Set up time for coffee or lunch with others. (If you’re reading this during the COVID-19 pandemic, or have a network beyond your local area, you can schedule meetings like this via videoconference). We all need a little caffeine in the morning or to eat lunch. Why not combine this with an opportunity to meet with your network? Find out how they’re doing and share your current situation.
Similarly, a little dinner or drinks after work as appropriate can also be an option as well. The goal here is to keep in touch with your contacts and always get to know them better. These aren’t just social events…these are targeted opportunities to build alliances, discuss opportunities, etc.
- Informational Interviews There’s another type of networking that is also very valuable to your career path. It’s the Informational Interview, a meeting to learn about the real-life experience of someone working in a field or company that interests you.
LinkedIn facilitates this by allowing you to connect with companies you may be interested in learning more about. Similarly, you can also connect with professionals doing the type of work you are interested in. The interview consists of you reaching out to ask for more information from individuals in the profession/organization. You just never know what amazing results can happen. It does require that you prepare to reach out in advance and know what you want to discuss. It’s a great way to network and meet others in your current or future profession.
- Work your network by becoming a Thought Leader. Begin to stand out by sharing links to articles and other content, or even writing and publishing your own pieces on LinkedIn. This forum is a perfect venue to grow your brand/business by producing content. You will find a host of other individuals who think similarly and would like to join your network. As an entrepreneur, it’s a great way to attract clients to your business as well.
- Make this a regular habit So, you may be thinking, how do I find time for all of this in my busy day? My recommendation is to set goals, (how many contacts do you want to get in touch with per week, how much time can you spend (like 15 minutes per day) building your network, etc. Challenge yourself to include this important work within your day. It really can support your career, enhance current job skills, allow you to assist others, and create a team of strong relationships.
This week get a boost from your network by either building it or working it. Use this week to shore up your LinkedIn profile to All-Star status (LinkedIn gives you that status when you have completed your profile plus). If you have a great network, then take some time this week to reach out to some of your contacts you haven’t seen/heard from in a while and touch base.
Would you like to use LinkedIn more effectively to boost your career? I’m holding a workshop for just that purpose. Click here for more details.