COM0015-Blog#3: Professional Networking Now and In the Future

As someone currently preparing to re-enter the workforce, putting together a strategy for developing my professional network is quite the timely assignment. At first this struck me as a somewhat daunting task, but my research leads me to believe that with the right guidance, small, sensible steps can lead to big payoff!

I know my first step in this journey has to be my LinkedIn profile. Much of mine is complete, except for the summary of my expertise – what LinkedIn says most people look at when evaluating candidates. I recently read an article by Pamela Vaughan, How to Use LinkedIn: 35 LinkedIn Tips for Professional Networking, Business & Marketing that suggests posting work samples and articles on your account to keep your profile fresh and dynamic. It also has lots of other great tips for entrepreneurs and those responsible for their company’s LinkedIn page. If you are a job seeker like me, this article from the Daily Muse Editor is a must read. So my commitment for developing my online professional network is to get my LinkedIn act together – make it complete, and make it dynamic by creating content that showcases my interests and skills.

With respect to developing my professional network in person, I will commit to doing a weekly search of business events, seminars, and conferences of interest to me personally or relevant to my intended direction professionally. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce has a convenient Events Page with lots of events open to members and non-members alike, some are even free to attend. Watch in particular for the Mayor’s Breakfast and Eggs n’ Icons events, they tend to draw great crowds.

Whether online or in person, after making connections it’s important to nurture them. In Ten Ways to Build and Maintain Your Professional Network, the critical components of keeping in touch are emphasized (don’t make it all about you – remember their birthdays, acknowledge professional milestones, etc) to help ensure your network maintains a genuine interest in helping you out as well.

COMM0015: Blog Post 3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

In today’s connected world, professional networking is the go to action when looking for work. Back in the old days, one could send in a resume, and get a job with just their skills. Now, professional networking is almost a necessary evil to get a job.

Today with social media, it’s easy to get into the professional networking craze. The most successful is LinkedIn, which boasts around 467 million users as of late October 2016, and attracts two new members per second.

 

LinkedIn Photo Post.png

Image Courtesy of Adam Johnston 

 

Other professional networking sites currently available to boost their career and business contacts, include Viadeo, and Xing, which gives many options for those who want to get into professional networking without just using LinkedIn, the most popular professional networking site.

Currently, for professional networking, I use LinkedIn, has been minimal at best. There has been lots of debate on the usefulness of professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Many recommend professional networking to move careers forward. Others have been critical to suggest sites like LinkedIn, do not create the interaction like Facebook, or Twitter.

However, professional networking sites do have an advantage because they are just that: professional networking sites. They are not there to discuss your kid’s tooth or that ugly Christmas sweater. These sites are for building careers, and businesses. Which is good.

Over the next twelve months, I plan to diversify my professional networking strategy. I am finding LinkedIn and online is limited. I look to use other professional networking sites, including Viadeo, to expand professional contacts, along with LinkedIn, outside of Winnipeg.

I will look to develop more local contacts, by using Meetup.com more. Meetup.com allows users to set up groups related to their interests, and plan events around the groups. With many groups focused on technology and entrepreneurship in Winnipeg, there is potential to grow my network locally, rather than just using LinkedIn.

What role does professional networking on social media have for you? Is it over-rated like some critics suggest? Do the benefits exceed the costs?