Networking with other professionals is essential for one’s career growth. Traditionally, this is done at work and during conferences; these days, though, one can simply go online and connect with like-minded professionals via social media.
LinkedIn is one of the best platforms in this regard, and in this article, we’ll hear what the social network’s founder has to say about networking – and how to do it effectively.
Why should you network?
It builds your reputation.
Connecting with people goes a long way. You can take it as an opportunity to establish your reputation and show people that you are a reliable industry professional that can support them. A good reputation, in turn, leads to more opportunities in your career or business.
It creates a strong support network.
The looming recession makes professionals opt for building a robust network as a safety net. If you have a reliable professional network, you can find yourself a cushion in case you get laid off, or your business somehow fails.
It increases your visibility.
A good network attracts the notice of industry leaders and other professionals in your field. As you expand your network, more people become aware of your existence and thus learn what you can offer. This should make it less difficult for you to find better jobs or get profitable business partnerships.
How to do networking right
Learn from industry influencers
Follow the leaders in your space. You can subscribe to their newsletters or simply read their articles. You will not only learn new things from them, but you will also get to brush up on your knowledge of the latest trends and news in your industry.
Understand your potential connections
Learn about the sort of people that you will end up networking with. Engage them with a casual conversation and understand the value that they can add to your network.
Sort out your connections
Talking to people in your network will help you determine who can help you on certain subjects. Categorising them into groups wouldn’t hurt; in fact, it will make it easier for you to find out who to turn to when you’re in need of advice on specific issues.
Seek advice from your network
Do not hesitate to seek advice from people you trust can give you the right answers (see the above tip). This will only create further engagement between you and your connections and casually generate knowledge that you will otherwise not learn from merely reading LinkedIn posts.
Establish your expertise
Identify your strengths and the topics that you truly excel in. Armed with this knowledge, you may now write informative posts, create newsletters, or set up discussion groups with you at the helm. Establishing your knowledge will expand your network and help you learn new things from your followers and influencers who have taken notice.
Link up in the real world
Now it’s time to move away from the screen. Even if you don’t have a pressing question or challenge, create more meaningful relationships by scheduling lunch or coffee dates with a person a few rungs ahead of you in your career, or someone from an adjacent industry whose career you admire. Do this even if you aren’t currently facing a pressing career question or challenge – engaged conversation can sometimes lead to serendipitous intelligence.
Some of the information in this article was extracted from The Startup of You: Adapt, Take Risks, Grow Your Network, and Transform Your Life by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha