It doesn’t take an expert to realize that over the last decade, human communication and interaction has become less personal and more digital. We don’t call our friends, we text. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the mediums by which we keep in touch with our friends and family – even if they live just a few miles away. The digitization of communication has also affected professional interactions, which has led many people to reduce the time they spend networking. However, networking is still critical to career development, whether you are new to the workforce or you are 20 years into your career.
To get the most from networking in the digital age, it helps to know how to turn online interactions into professional connections.
Spend More Time on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the most effective professional social media platform for networking with people in your industry. It’s not enough to have a profile on LinkedIn, however. You’ve got to create an optimized profile that is not only robust, but also searchable. You also have to know how to work the platform to grow your network and make real and meaningful connections.
Joining and participating in groups is an ideal strategy for maximizing your time on LinkedIn. Not only will you connect with like-minded professionals, but you also have the opportunity to showcase your unique knowledge and skills in discussions. Many hiring managers and recruiters join LinkedIn groups to spot new talent, and groups can be an ideal platform for showing off your expertise.
It is important to stay in touch with LinkedIn connections. Be sure to take the time to personally email or InMail your contacts so that you are cultivating real relationships. Whenever possible, take the conversation offline and invite contacts to coffee or lunch for some analog, face-to-face networking time.
Join Local Meetup Groups
Meetup.com is a digital platform that takes online networking into the real world. Users can sign up and join local groups that meet in their area.
By seeking out meetups based on your professional expertise and interests, you can connect with local professionals in your industry. Join several groups, as you won’t always be able to attend scheduled meetups, and some gatherings simply won’t be of interest to you. Joining several groups allows you to pick and choose the events that are the most relevant to you, and exposes you to the widest variety of people possible.
Commit to Making a New Connection Every Week
In order to ensure that you’re constantly growing your network, set a goal of making a minimum of one new connection every week. Whether it’s on LinkedIn, through Meetup.com, or through some other channel, adding one new, relevant connection to your network can help you stay plugged in to what’s happening in your industry.
Always remember that networking is a two-way street. You have to give if you hope to receive. Be sure that you aren’t approaching networking with a “me first” attitude, and do whatever you can to be of assistance to your professional contacts.
If you are a professional in sales, marketing, engineering, IT or operations looking for new opportunities, contact The Prevalent Group today. Our team of executive recruiters can help match you with a position that aligns with your long-term career goals, and we can work with you to help perfect your networking skills to ensure you cultivate a strong set of professional connections.