Building a professional network is extremely important, because professional networks help you connect with people who may benefit you from a business standpoint. Whether you are a job hunter hoping to connect with a potential employer, an Outreach Consultant looking for partnership opportunities for your organization, a Fundraiser looking for donations, or any sort of professional looking to make positive connections, networking is key. Thanks to social media, there are various ways to network online, in addition to in-person opportunities. Right now, my professional network is fairly small. Read on for my ideas for expanding my professional network.
Networking on the Net
The internet allows us to connect with anyone else on the planet who also has access to the internet. According to Earth Web, this equals a daily total of 4.95 billion. Here are a few of my favorite ways to locate networking opportunities online:
Facebook Groups – There are many Facebook Groups available that focus on specific topics. These groups allow members to interact with individuals who share similar interests. This common ground presents an excellent opportunity to strike up a conversation with other professionals in your field, if you choose groups that focus on topics that relate to your field that is.
Eventbrite – Eventbrite is a website that allows people to promote and distribute tickets to events. The events can be either virtual or in-person. There are hundreds of virtual events currently being advertised on Eventbrite, many of which are free. You can choose from topics such as arts, wellness, business, etc. Taking a class or joining a webinar presents a great opportunity to interact with other professionals and learn more about your field.
In-person networking has taken a bit of a hit over the past few years as a result of COVID-19. I believe that one of the most important first steps to take in networking is to make sure that the situation is safe and comfortable for everyone involved. Lately, I have been working on expanding my in-person professional network with the help of the internet. I located a new volunteer opportunity that allows me to make new connections while supporting the community through a simple Google search. Volunteering is great for building your professional network, because you are able to meet new people and demonstrate skills which could make you a desirable employee/colleague/business partner in the future.
Facebook groups, Eventbrite events, and volunteering are my main professional networking strategies right now. I think that each option will provide me with excellent opportunities that I must make sure to take advantage of by conducting myself professionally. What suggestions do you have for building a professional network?