Budget 2012 forced me to try a different method of developing my professional network. I was reluctant to use social media as I was skeptical about the benefits. The idea of “showcasing” myself on the world wide web was outside my comfort zone. However, after receiving my “affected letter” from my employer I knew I had to find out more about this emerging field. LinkedIn is now one of my favourite social media tools and part of my strategy for developing and expanding my professional network.
LinkedIn provides a great network of professionals and it’s free. I was surprised how quickly I connected with people from past employers. Not only did I connect with many professionals, I was also provided with additional names to contact regarding job opportunities. My network increased significantly in a short period of time.
My plan for the next year is to become more active in group discussions on LinkedIn. Part of that plan includes doing some research and determining which groups would be beneficial for me to join where I can participate. One of my biggest challenges using LinkedIn is finding the right groups to join. This will be my focus over the next 6 months.
I also plan to engage more online at work (when I return from my 1 year educational leave). We have numerous internal social media sites at work where you can join groups and network with colleagues. I think this will be very beneficial to me in expanding my professional network at work.
My in person networking includes attending presentations and networking events sponsored by both the Canadian Public Relations Society and the International Association of Business Communicators. I’ve been to a few events and have met some new people. My goal over the next year is to attend a number of these events. I prefer the in person networking as I find you can really make a connection to people.
What is your preferred way of networking?
Photo Credit: Wordle