Your network can be vital to your professional success. A strong and expansive network gives you insight into trends as well as insider information on job openings and movement within the company. These days social media makes it easier than ever to hone your existing relationships as well as make new contacts. Networking has also never been more essential. Read on to find out some of the advantages of a strong professional network as well as tips on how to build and maintain them.
Knowledge is power
If you are looking for a new job, a strong network becomes very important. Perhaps someone in your network knows about a job opening before it is posted or even knows the HR manager and can put in a good word for you. With the job market as competitive as it is, it never hurts to have someone who knows what is happening, and the more people you know the greater your chances of finding out the information first.
A circle of trust
A successful network must be balanced, meaning you should give as much as you take. If you ask for someone's help or use a contact for your gain, make sure you are ready to give back when called upon. This requires trust from both parties, so link yourself with people whose reputation and ethics you believe in. Chances are good they feel the same way about you.
Gather valuable opinions and tips
Social media is a great way to find others who share your interests. With so many platforms and forums online today you can chat with like-minded professionals and gain from their experiences and knowledge. Ask as well as answer questions to create a dialogue and build trust. You never know which one of those conversations could lead to your next job.
Take care of your network
It is not enough to just have someone on your email list or have them as a friend on Xing or LinkedIn; a true working network requires maintenance. Send your contacts personalised updates every now and again. Offer up your help if you can. Meet for coffee just to catch up and see how the other is doing. Putting in a little effort can go a long way. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help. You have chosen to have these people in your network for a reason.