Struggling to get your career on track? Whether you have just graduated college or have shifted industries and are struggling to get your footing, learning how to network effectively in the present day is a valuable skill to have.
Traditional literature on the subject is painfully outdated, so it is time for a refresher crash course to get you on the road to a stable career.
1) Build an online presence
This may be obvious to some of you, but in case you don’t already know, building a robust online presence is essential to the 21st century professional that is looking to get their name out there.
You don’t even have to know how to set up a website in order to make this happen, as there are plenty of free blogging/website building platforms that you can use to outline your experience and expertise.
If you want, get some help from someone that is a bit more tech-savvy, as this will ensure that your site looks sharp for those that will end up visiting it.
Once complete, put your website URL on your business card, and add it to your e-mail signature box to encourage contacts to learn more about you.
2) Reach out to contacts on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is another online platform that you should embrace, as it has become the de-facto social media site for professionals looking to network with like-minded colleagues.
More than just another Facebook clone, it functions as a supercharged version of your resume and cover letter, with the notable exception that it allows you to join groups connected to your interests, and it feeds you industry news and information.
The former allows you to meet fellow colleagues over the web without having to see each other first, while the latter allows you to stay on top of the latest current affairs in your field, both of which give you an edge over other job seekers.
3) Ask yourself, “What can I do for them?”
One of the biggest complaints that people have when it comes to being solicited by other professionals is that the third party often seeks to gain an advantage without providing any value in return.
The purpose of networking is to not simply seek benefit for yourself, but to help others in whatever way you can.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything groundbreaking to contribute – if you are able to make somebody’s life easier by helping them with their work, this can lead to opportunities for mentorship and potential career advancement in the months and years following the interaction.
4) Use Meetup or Facebook Events to join or create interest groups
Despite the fundamental changes that the internet has made to the world of work, the common desire to interact socially is one thing that has not changed.
On this note, using Facebook events or meet up to join industry groups in your area will allow you to interact with people that share your professional interests in social settings.
Even if your area lacks such a group, there’s nothing stopping you from creating one yourself. After doing so, spread the word via Facebook, Linkedin, Craigslist, and through other online and offline mediums.