Networking is key to professional success. In addition to getting to know people who may offer you a job or refer you to someone who is offering one, networking also makes you stand out, opens the door for new opportunities, boosts your intellect and creativity, adds to your self-confidence, and gives you access to information that can help you succeed (Cole, 2019).
Doing nothing not an option
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have effectively put the job of expanding my professional network on hold. I am still active on LinkedIn and Twitter, the two social media channels that I use mainly for networking purposes. However, I do not make professional connections or promote myself on these platforms as actively as used to.
I understand that by doing nothing, I am losing a lot of opportunities. As one author puts it, “if you’re not networking, you’re not working” (Fasih, 2014).
Here is what I am planning to do in the next 12 months to build up my professional networks.
September – December 2020
During the next four months, I will work on ensuring that people see me online the way I want to come across. Social media provide the most effective platform for building and communicating one’s personal brand (Algonquin College, n.d.).
So, I will start by making sure that all the social media accounts I have tell my story the way I want it to be told. I will post content and engage people in a way that will show that I am aware of and interested in what is happening in my industry. I will also comment on content shared by more prominent people in the industry and offer insights to demonstrate that I know what I am talking about and can add value to any project.
January – April 2021
The next phase will focus on building connections with people who can offer me professional advise, provide insights about organizations I am targeting in my job search, and introduce me to people in these organizations.
I will start by putting together a list of people I want to connect to and a list of organizations I am interested in working for. I will, then, connect with people from the first list – either through other people who are already in my professional network or by sending them LinkedIn messages and invitations to connect. I will also start making connections with people working in organizations from my second list.
May – August 2021
The final four months of my networking plan will focus on meeting key people from my expanded network in-person. I will be aiming at meeting people who can help me make the next major step in my career – either by referring me to managers who have positions to fill in the organizations I am targeting or by giving me insights about these organizations.
I will also start giving back to the community by connecting with professionals who are just entering the industry to offer them professional tips, mentorship opportunities, and access to my network.
What do you think of my networking plan? Do you have any recommendations on what I can improve in this plan? Let me know in the comments below.
In writing this blog, I have used and cited the following sources:
- Algonquin College. (n.d.). Module 6: Professional Networking. In COM0015: Applied Social Media in Business: August 2020. Retrieved from https://ontariolearn.desire2learn.com/d2l/le/content/35165/viewContent/1686835/View
- Cole, B.M. (2019, March 20). 10 Reasons Why Networking Is Essential For Your Career. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/biancamillercole/2019/03/20/why-networking-should-be-at-the-core-of-your-career/#752430a61300
- Fasih, A. (2014, June 14). Career Hack: If You’re Not Networking, You’re Not Working! LinkedIn Pulse. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140614155036-85021158–career-hack-if-you-re-not-networking-you-re-not-working/