The people you know, professionally and personally, makes up your network. Having a sizeable network to turn to in times of unemployment is pertinent, especially in today’s sluggish job market. While it is still partly your qualifications and skill set that eventually acquire you a job, it is also a matter of who you know. Expanding your network to make sure you know the right people is a wise career move and will definitely be beneficial to you in the long run. Here are a couple of different ways to expand your network.
-Recommendations and referrals go a long way. Think of it as “give a little, get a little”. Whenever possible, make a recommendation. If you read an article you enjoyed, share the link. If you purchased a product that you now love, share it with those in your network. Sharing links and recommendations with a wide variety of people has become as easy as clicking a mouse. By recommending other people’s and company’s products and services, they will in turn be more inclined to refer you and that’s the first step in expanding your network.
-Talk to anyone and everyone. Do not just assume that only those in your professional circle have contacts that you can use. Expanding your network consists of speaking to those who you may otherwise have never known to be of help to you. Getting a haircut? Why not strike up a conversation with your hairdresser whose son happens to be a social worker whose clinic is looking for counselors. Funny, that’s what you’re in the market for. Striking up conversations with those unconventional contacts can help you in career advancement or even when looking for work.
-Attend conferences and conventions. Expand your network by becoming a member of your professional group or association. These get togethers are breeding grounds for establishing new contacts and can potentially widen your professional circle. Better yet, attend a conference not related to your field of expertise. Creating a network of people outside your field is important because you never know who knows who.
-Network with a well-networked person. If you want to expand your network in an incredibly short time, all you need is one well-connected person. One well-networked person could lead to two or three and you could potentially jump start your contacts into the hundreds.
Expanding your network takes time and definitely effort, but the results are absolutely worth it. Plus, don’t forget about Spark News writer Chris Comella’s networking series to guide you through building your network.