For me, social networking is an ongoing process both in-person and online. I think in today’s job economy, even if you are happy and secure in your job, you still want to be continuously building and developing relationships with your business associates. And I think that most people do.
I am currently just getting back into the working world after a very long absence from work, so my networking approach right now is slightly different than it might have previously been, because I’m reconnecting not only to the people, but to the environment and the industry.
My strategy for developing my professional network is the same online as it is in person, and that is to cultivate and develop relationships. It should not all be about what I can offer them, or what they can offer me. It’s how we can work together to achieve a common goal.
I can be self conscious if I don’t know people well, so developing online rapport is beneficial to me because it will create a more relaxed face-to-face setting. Most of my clients and colleagues communicate online through email, Facebook and Skype, and it is usually through one of these platforms that our relationship develops prior to meeting.
I believe in developing quality not necessarily quantity. I aim to create solid relationships where there is mutual respect from both parties, and I look to current relationships to network from.
I have also realized the importance that LinkedIn plays in the job market now, and that it is an important tool, not only if you are looking for a job, but also to create and facilitate relationships. I am embarrassed to say that my profile is loooong overdue for an update.
Over the next few months, I have a number of goals:
• Reconnect and reestablish prior relationships
• Arrange face-to-face meetings or dinners with colleagues to reestablish relationships
• Determine if the online and in-person networking strategies have changed while I’ve been away.
• Update my LinkedIn profile and build on my existing network.