People throw around the word “networking” a lot, but not always with anything to actually say about how to do it. “Oh, you have to network,” everyone advises, but how do you go about accomplishing it in today’s tech climate?
Fortunately, this is the age of social media, wireless networks, and mobile communication, all of which offer better and easier ways of networking.
LinkedIn is a good example of how social networking can help your career
When it comes to networking for the sake of career advancement, you need join LinkedIn. LinkedIn falls under the category of a social media platform, only with more career and job-related content, and a lot less cat videos and “Keep Calm, And … ” memes. Here are some thoughts and ideas about using LinkedIn to advance your career.
Always Fill Out The Experience Section
You need to look at your LinkedIn home page more like an over glorified online resume. This includes the Professional Headline; consider it to be a one-sentence introduction to who you are and why you’re here. For instance, mine reads “Freelance Writer- Always interested in another assignment or ten.” With that simple sentence, visitors immediately learn two things: I’m a writer, and I’m available for work.
Even if you’re happy and secure in your present job, things change. Companies close, positions get phased out, and recruiters look for new talent. It doesn’t hurt to have a perpetual self-advertisement up and running!
Take a cue from the world of marketing: advertising is good, but positive word of mouth carries far more weight. You can put up your personal information and work experience, implying that you’re this amazing, knowledgeable individual who’d make a fine addition to any team, but when a third party goes on record as saying that you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, that is what impresses people most when they check out your page.
You Never Met A Contact You Didn’t Like
Alright so, advancing your career requires networking, and right here’s where the rubber hits the road. Never turn away a contact request, and by all means, initiate contacts with people around you. Turn to fellow employees at your job, even if they’re from very different departments than yours and you have minimal contact. Tap old friends from school, church, even relatives or old childhood friends. You never know what the future brings and who you will run into somewhere down the line. Remember, sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Adding and maintaining contacts is the meat and drink of good networking.
Follow/Join LinkedIn Groups
As the article “Why Facilities Managers Should Participate In LinkedIn Groups (and how)” points out, there’s a whole world of LinkedIn groups to explore, and they are a great resource for expanding your horizons. Not only do groups offer a great chance to learn new things, they help you to better find people who share common interests or a profession with you, and therefore makes networking all the easier. As the above-referenced article also points out, the number of groups you can join is limited to 50, though there’s at least one work-around. But it does serve to drive the home the point that you should choose your memberships carefully, and with the goal of career advancement always in mind, guiding your choices.
Self-Promotion Is Key
Once you get established in LinkedIn, make sure you give other social media platforms some love as well. Check out the article “How To Promote Your Resume Using Social Media” for more insights.
We live in an age where forging connections is easier than ever, which works out well, since the value of networking is higher than ever. Use today’s tools to improve your networking, and enjoy an enhanced and advanced career.