As a super shy person, I often wonder how I ended up in a marketing role, it’s definitely not what I saw myself doing when I first started my post-secondary education! Writing is something that I’ve always excelled at but I am much more comfortable taking a back seat when it comes to situations that require me to speak in front of several people. That part of my personality can make certain aspects of my job very difficult. While I may be able to write down my ideas cohesively and competently, I find verbalizing them much more difficult. I constantly have to push myself in situations that I innately find very uncomfortable. The thought of moving my professional network from online to in person makes me uneasy and to be honest, I don’t even have much of an online presence professionally. I manage corporate social media accounts with ease, but have yet to really branch outside of a personal social media presence. With that said, I think this class has really highlighted the need for me to do that. I have definitely become “comfy” in my role and it’s time to push the envelope a little.
Looking forward, in order to develop my professional network online, I am going to update my LinkedIn profile. Simple things like making sure I have included all of my relevant work experience, an updated professional photo and updating my bio and skills will help to make my profile more interesting, accurate and allow me to feel more confident connecting with others. I will also seek out opportunities to connect with both co-workers and other industry professionals.
I have mentioned previously that I work in the space technology industry, Twitter is the most used social network in the industry and creating a personal account where I can share and comment on news and information related to space will help me to make more contacts in the industry.
I have been on maternity leave since November, and I think during this time in my life taking a step back from my professional life makes sense (there is only so much time in a day!) however, I definitely feel out of the loop now that I am not on social networks and involved in the conversations around space every day. I think creating these professional accounts and staying informed and active in the day-to-day news and conversations will make my return to work much easier.
As far as developing my in person networks, I have a few strategies that I think will help.
- I am going to look for a mentor, my HR Manager had a mentor for several years that she would meet up with monthly to chat with about any issues or questions she had, she found great value in this relationship. Working in the Kanata North Business Park means there are hundreds of businesses around me, I am sure finding a senior Marketing/Communications professional who would be interested in a mentoring relationship will be fairly easy.
- Over the next year, I am going to make an effort to attend one networking event each quarter. I will use Facebook Events to look for events near me that would help to develop my professional network. As we learned in the course lesson, a nice feature of Facebook Events is that you can see who is attending.
- My organization is part of the Kanata North BIA, there are tons of events hosted by the BIA that would be good to attend to make contacts in the area. I will work on making more contacts outside my organization to expand my professional network.
I am hopeful that putting this plan in place and taking the steps above will help me move forward in developing my professional network, I am looking forward to seeing progress in that area and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.