1) Introduce yourself to the right people
Meeting the right people is the key. However, first, you have to figure out what you want to achieve from these meetings. Are you seeking employment opportunities? Do you mainly want to get advice from a seasoned professional? After you figure out what your goals are, think about places or events where you can meet these people such as business conferences and job fairs. When you arrive at these events, take a deep breath, step up and introduce yourself to the people whom you want to meet. If you are not accustomed to this, you might feel a bit awkward and self-conscious in the beginning, but don’t let that deter you. Be confident that you can do this. After the first couple of introductions, you will feel more comfortable with it. Before you know it, you will be a natural at navigating the crowd. The more proactive you are in attending these functions to meet the right people, the more rewarding it will be, you just got to find the right networking business to join and be constant.
Besides meeting new people, you should reconnect with former colleagues who can serve as your references. This is a powerful network of people who are familiar with your abilities and who can vouch for your talent. Those who have pleasant memories of working with you would be glad to help you with your career advancement. Classify this group into the different types of referrals that you might need, and do not hesitate to request the appropriate colleague to provide a letter of reference. Always remember to thank them for the support they gave you, and keep them apprised of your progress in your job search.
3) Incorporate connections into your daily routine
Connecting should become a daily routine like eating and sleeping. There are so many social media platforms these days that there is no excuse not to connect. For professionals, LinkedIn is the primary online platform to find and establish professional connections. One connection can lead to an introduction to a new business contact. Even popular recreational platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook that you might use in your personal life can open up opportunities in building up your professional network. Just Facebook alone has more than two billion subscribers, so among those, there are bound to be people who can be part of your network. One thing you might want to try when searching Facebook is their “People I may know” function. In fact, Facebook has become such a networking powerhouse that it claims people are all connected by only 3.5 degrees of separation, meaning that between any two random people, they are connected to each other by just a little over 3.5 steps. That is the power of social media. As for Twitter, practise retweeting. You may be pleasantly surprised by the connections that result from your retweets which lead to career opportunities. The bottom line is that connecting is easy to do, and you should do it as often as you eat or sleep.
4) Build a network that is diverse
Diversity means including people from all demographic groups, cultures, backgrounds, and business industries. When you limit your network to just people who have similar professional backgrounds, you confine yourself to only that circle and you cannot expand. When your network is diverse, you broaden your scope for a richer experience and nearly unlimited opportunities. Your diverse network can also include mentors and coaches who help you with your personal development. A diverse network will open up doors that you would not have considered if you were still stuck in the same circle of contacts.