Developing a meaningful relationship with others in your industry require effort, but that does not mean you need to feel stressed about it. If you want to advance your career through broadening your network, there are a few ways to begin.
Further Your Education
Furthering your education allows you to meet other people interested in working in your industry. Often, your classmates are also looking to build professional connections, and taking the same class together allows you to form a unique connection. Plus, having a relevant degree can help you further your professional goals. Getting your degree can be financially constraining for many people, so you may want to take out a student loan to pay for your education. That way, you won’t have to worry about the cost of tuition while you are in school.
Attending Networking Events
Whether you are going to an event with an expert speaking on a relevant topic or a specific meetup, try attending relevant events in the area. This allows you to connect with like-minded people who you will be able to discuss relevant information. These help you broaden your horizons, creating more meaningful connections than just a virtual meeting. Make sure to network in an effective way. Try actively engaging in conversation and listening attentively. When you are introducing yourself, make sure you have a short introduction ready, including your role and the name of the company you work for. It’s a good idea to follow up within 24 hours of meeting someone new. That might include finding them on a professional networking site or following up with an email to remind them of your meeting. Mention how much you enjoyed meeting that person.
Engaging with Content
You can keep in touch with those you have connected with by sharing relevant information you believe they will find useful. This could be an industry whitepaper, well written blog post, or even a local event. You can mention why you thought they might find it useful and how it could offer value. If you see someone you know mentioned in industry news, you might send a note to acknowledge their accomplishment and mention what they bring to the industry. As you engage with this type of content, you can position yourself as a knowledgeable member of your industry.
Connecting with Old Contacts
While you may desire to stay in touch with your whole network at all times, it is all too easy to get out of touch with contacts you have not engaged with for a while. However, don’t be afraid to reach out to old contacts, even if you have not spoken in a while. When you reach out to someone, let them know you would like to reconnect and acknowledge that it has been a while. There are many ways to connect with them again, whether it is sharing relevant information, asking for professional feedback, or messaging them for an achievement. If you live in the same area, you may ask to meet up for coffee at some point.