Networking to Further Your Career

What is Your Network?

Your network is a collection of people you have connected with at some point or another throughout your personal life and professional career. Your network can be anyone ranging from your neighbor or aunt to your former boss or co-worker. Essentially it is a collection of people that can help you get to where you need (or want) to go.

Expanding Your Network

If you don’t have a lot of experience in your industry, or are looking to make a job change, your network might be the first place you want to look. While we don’t suggest telling your boss you’re looking for something new (although we’ll touch on that in a minute), you may be able to reach out to former colleagues and peers to see if they know of any opportunities in store.

What if I don’t have a huge network?

What’s that old saying? “There’s no time like the present!” If you don’t have a large network you can utilize, think about branching out. You can connect with people and join groups on LinkedIn, attend conferences or industry trade shows, or sign up for networking events in your area. These are great avenues to get out there and connect with people on a personal and professional level.

A great thing to keep in mind if you are hesitant to meet new people is that you more than likely have at least one think in common if working in the same industry. You can also spark conversation by asking them about their experiences and career path as well. If they’re not in your organization, you could also mention you are looking for new opportunities should the timing be appropriate.

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Utilizing Your Network

So how do you utilize your network? Remember earlier when we said don’t run to your boss? That advice is also situational. If you are looking for growth within your current organization, your boss may be a great place to start depending on your relationship with them. Talking about career advancement and opportunities to develop can open you to possibilities you may not have even considered.

Reach out and touch base! Even if you may not have spoken to someone in a while, reaching out and asking them how their job or life is going is a great way to re-connect. You could also ask them about their experience working with a particular company if you are interested in knowing more. This often can lead to a moment in the conversation where they offer to pass your resume along (bonus), but should not be expected.

What will the picture and video be about?

Maybe a networking checklist/worksheet?