What Can You Do to Grow Your Network?

Not everyone is a natural networker. For some, it can be downright intimidating to put themselves out there when they’re comfortable working independently. But, remember that a strong professional network helps you in multiple ways. It enables you to stay on top of industry trends and relevant business developments, meet new contacts, and gain access to new opportunities. Even if you’re perfectly content right where you are, who knows when things may change? That’s when the network you keep cultivating will prove its real worth.

Start with your existing connections.

These could be peers who work in different areas of your company, or people you know from college, your neighborhood or church, or other areas of life. They give you a wider view – of your organization, your industry, or completely new options and possible opportunities that interest you.

  • Reach out to them. Set up coffee, lunch or a drink. As you get to know them better, you can help or motivate each other, share ideas and/or contacts, or perhaps help each other to solve a problem, address an issue, or gain new perspective or insight.
  • To be solid, a relationship must be two-sided. Provide reciprocity. Listen actively and show an interest in them and their work. This is what turns connections into relationships.

Seek out people you can learn from.

Learning should be a lifelong experience. If you think you “know it all,” you’re headed down the wrong path: it leads to a dead end where innovation and discovery go to die. Strive to make every networking experience a lesson, even if you’re meeting with someone newer to your field or the workforce than you are. They may be a font of fresh ideas.

Be open-minded. And just say yes.

You may feel like your plate is already too full and your life too busy to take on anything new. But that also means you’re closing a door to potential growth. Instead, embrace a voluntary assignment if it will expose you to new people and involve team collaboration. Or, join a committee or task force where you can get to know people you wouldn’t otherwise work with.

  • Don’t forget professional associations. Join – and be active, just as you should on LinkedIn and other social channels. Contribute to conversations and discussions, on and offline, and sign up for projects, events and committees. People will come to think of you as their “go to” person for your own unique contributions.

For more tips on building your connections and your career, add PrideStaff Modesto to your professional network. Think of us as an experienced resource, connected networker and coach, all rolled into one. Reach out to us today to learn more.