COM0015 – Blog Post #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future

What is networking anyway? Well it is a skill set. It is a way to make personal connections with people. These people can support you in your professional endeavours. It is also a two way connection. It is mutually beneficial. It is about building relationships.

Gif by giphy.com

My strategy going forward

I want to focus more on my writing and the connections I need to make that happen. In the past, I never understood how much it takes to be a successful writer. I definitely didn’t understand networking and how important it is. I put my writing in a corner. It kept calling to me, screaming at me . So finally, I decided to either put it away for good, or give it my best effort and see if I have what it takes to make this work. So now I am back at the writing, and back to figuring out how this all works. I have made connections with other writers and writing people. I have started to figure out that it takes a village for anything like this to have any kind of chance. I’ve found writing groups. I’m working on finding Beta readers that exchange ideas and stories. I recently connected with an editor who tore my manuscript apart. But he was honest and actually liked the story. I am loving every minute of it. This is what I was missing before. The nitty gritty of the writing world. I’m reaching out to bloggers who read and writer reviews for the pure joy of reading. I;m planning marketing strategies for when my book is polished. I’m researching agents and connecting with them through social media. I have a plan. I am focused. I’m moving forward.

Activities and commitments for the next 6-12 months

My main goal for the next year, other than finishing my book, is to attend a couple of writing conferences. I have done a couple in the past, but didn’t do a lot of networking at them. I attended, I listened, I participated. But I didn’t network. I kick myself in the butt for this one connection I made with a popular writer who seemed interested in my work. I didn’t follow up! I know crazy. I didn’t understand this whole world. Now I do. So I’m starting over. Polishing my credentials, learning how to promote myself, gaining confidence. I’m ready. I’m eager. I am going to do this!

How about you? Any future writers/agents/publishers out there that want to connect? What are your future goals?

 

Growing a Business for Free

Can you grow your brand through only Instagram?

It is crazy how much a click of a button can accomplish, allowing you to interact with your audience without being present. Companies are able to make a single post, and increase their growth, and make profits in just minutes.

Ashley Carman, a journalist for The Verge, writes her article Instagram now has 1 billion users worldwide. She discusses the rapid growth Instagram has accumulated in 2018 after their in-office announcement of hitting 1billon active users.

This allows large or smaller companies to take full advantage of these growths for their own improvement and development. Companies can increase attraction to their pages and bring awareness with simple interactive media posts.

There are many different ways Instagram allows you to interact and connect with your followers:

Tags

There are many ways you can use tags, from tagging other people, trending hashtags, or getting people to tag their friends in different contests. Instagram gives you man options for using tags, depending how you use it to your advantage. Hashtag’s have always been a key component for bringing awareness to a central topic, but recently brands have come up with new tactics that have proven to bring in more traffic.

Contests have been trending through people’s timelines, getting people to tag friends, like their photo, follow their page, like their page, or even repost them for a chance to win a prize. Normally people are not willing to take their time unless it is for a cause, so this helps push people to promote your brand for you while you sit back and all you had to do is make a single post.

Swipe Up!

This tactic is great if you are wanting to share something with your followers that you are not able to on Instagram; whether it be selling merchandise, a link to your newest video, or a link to your blog, you are able to link anything you would like that would interest you followers. It allows you to post a summary or idea on your story and your followers can decide whether they are willing to take the time to swipe up or skip by.

Recently I noticed personal bloggers re-posting their pictures to their story and have a swipe up link to the photo posted on their Instagram, using this strategy to gain more traction and likes to build their brand!

Make a Poll

Making polls is not so much for increasing traction but it does help you understand your followers and consumers. This option allows brands to take the time to see what their followers and consumers are looking for, for example: A company cannot decide if they want to launch their new product in blue or green… well with only a few clicks, the company is able to create a poll to allow their consumers to decide for them. Based off the results they can successfully create items they know their customers would enjoy.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback is a huge factor for all companies, involving Instagram of not, your feedback from your clients is the most important thing of any company because that shapes your reputation as a brand. Instagram now allows people to post a question or a statement and people are able to reply and voice their opinion to the person, brand or company and it can be completely anonymous.

Collab with Influencers

Now this is the BIGGEST tactic most larger brands use, this would not be considered free either. Companies pay influences hundreds to thousands of dollars to promote their brands through your favourite influencers. It is the most effective way to get influencers that people look up to and have them sell your brand to all their following. If your favourite model, actress, or singer tells you to buy it, chances are high… you will probably end up buying it. Especially when many of these influencers are given discount codes and you THINK you are saving money.

Source: BUSINESS OF APPS

Social media gives us such a diverse and proactive platform that can be taken full advantage of. Brand’s now do not have to pay thousands to advertise or start up their brand’s on TV or on the radio because Instagram offers so many features to allow you to spark your growth and become a reputable brand with multiple free features, and low prices to sponsor or promote your posts if you decide to do so.

Facebook:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

Twitter:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? #insta #socialmedia #instgram #branding #company https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

References:

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

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Photo from Eventbrite

In the past while I was living in London, networking was easy. I would attend multiple events per week in the evenings after work, as well as connect online on LinkedIn and Instagram. 

There was always something going on, which made for a pretty hectic work week but kept up the excitement to the point where I never really had time to be nervous about meeting new people since it was so fast paced. 

Since being back in Ottawa, over the past few months I have definitely let the cold weather keep me more indoors. There’s not as much going on in terms of events, but through different search mediums I can get the most out of my location.

Eventbrite is a great source for finding events in cities all over the world. Some events cost money, but quite a few of them are free. You are able to search by location or key word, and input dates to refine your search. 

Another application I use to find events is Couchsurfing. This is primarily an app that lets you find hosts for free accommodation. There is also a feature where you can search for events in whatever city you are in.

I was able to network and meet amazing people in Paris, for example, when I was doing photography for a festival. We met at the Louvre, all not knowing each other, had a picnic and then went to the festival together. How cool is that?

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Couchsurfing friends and I in Paris, Lollapalooza 2017

Currently, I have been looking at Facebook events to see what events are coming up or that show friends in attendance. Eventbrite is also still a great tool to find both online and in person networking events. 

In the next 6-12 months I will be working at a new job, so I hope to network as much as I can there and meet new people. I also plan to attend any relevant events I can find that interest me or can aid in my professional development. 

After meeting someone in person, I could also be more vigilant in connecting online via LinkedIn as well. Making the extra effort and keeping in touch with people is necessary to building that connection. 

Instagram is a growing platform for networking—following certain hashtags can allow me to find new people or brands to connect with that may share my same interests. 

I would like to attend at least one in person networking event per month—whether for work or for personal endeavours. I also want to post three times per week on Instagram with insightful and artistic content highlighting my photography or other skills. 

Just showing up to events is half the battle for me, since I can be quite anxious when I am by myself—but I also realize that I have the most potential for networking when I am alone as it forces me to get outside my comfort zone.

When I attend events I usually like to set a goal, like talking to three new people and collecting at least one business card or contact information. Making one strong connection is better than saying hello to many people and not fully resonating with anyone. 

Connecting online is generally much easier than in person; however, if I can get through to someone in person and then follow up online, that is my preferable route to building a strong professional relationship. 

What is your favourite way to connect? Let me know in the comments!

COM0015 – Assignment #5: Event Participation: Selling Without Really Selling

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Source: How to Sell Without Selling [Webinar]

The professional value derived from the webinar I chose to attend, conducted by holistic nutritionist, Joy McCarthy, founder of Joyous Health, and her business partner, husband, and co-presenter Walker Jordan, was immense.

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Source: How to Sell Without Selling [Webinar]

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Source: How to Sell Without Selling [Webinar]

The event, How to Sell Without Selling, was an hour and a half long webinar, broken down into five main sections, dedicated to discussing how to digitally connect with and grow your audience without using sale tactics and strategies.

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Source: How to Sell Without Selling [Webinar]

I became aware of this event after stumbling upon a social media post promoting it on Facebook, resulting in an immense level of excitement, as this event, presented by two incredibly successful entrepreneurs and individuals I truly admire, resulted in the opportunity to gain a greater level of insight into a brand, and social media strategy I personally admire. This event I believed would allow for the opportunity to explore how some of the concepts discussed within this very Social Media Certificate program, such as story telling, can be applied in a real word setting. Additionally, I instantly identified how immensely valuable the content within this webinar could serve professionally — for both the social media content I create for the podcast I host, and for the social media accounts I manage for the health food store I am employed by.

Attendance  

The event took place within an online webinar room, through the platform WebinarJam, with an ongoing message board throughout the entire webinar enabling the ability for audience members to interact with other participants, and Joy and Walker themselves. While the attendee list or participant count was not publicly visible, a total of 35 other users interacted through the message board.

Event Interactions 

Through the discussion board, Joy and Walker encouraged audience members to leave comments and questions as a way to promote a healthy two-way dialogue, with an allotted time period at the end of the webinar to address questions and comments as outlined in the discussion list. While I did not directly interact with Joy or Walker in the discussion section through asking a question, I did however experience positive interactions — asking questions, providing answers, and adding commentary to another participant’s comment — with a few of those interactions featured below:

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Source: How to Sell Without Selling [Webinar]


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Source: How to Sell Without Selling [Webinar]


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Source: How to Sell Without Selling [Webinar]

Through the discussion board I had the opportunity to learn about the webinar attendees. A large number of attendees are current students or alumni of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, and attended the webinar in order to aid in the success of their own health and wellness entrepreneurial adventures. One individual I did have the pleasure of interacting with coincidentally is a person whom I have interacted with in a professional, work context. Due to the fact that I work within the health and nutrition field, this interaction really solidified the versatility of the subject matter being taught and the way in which the fundamental principles can be applied to a range of specific aspects within an industry, along with how interconnected and close knit the health community truly is. This was further promoted by the general positive, eager and supportive energy from all participants present within the message board.

Novel Ideas 

Among the ‘7 Feel Good Sales Strategies’ this webinar presented as alternatives to conventional and at times uncomfortable selling tactics, there were a few notable, key ideas related to building a foundation to sell your products or services without actually feeling like you are selling anything:

  • Idea #1: In order to avoid the conventional and uncomfortable feelings associated with selling in the most traditional sense, you have to value the product or service you’re offering and feel confident in its ability to add value to others’ lives.
  • Idea #2: In order to be successful in selling without selling you have to be confident and comfortable in showcasing your value and its potential benefits.
  • Idea #3: You must believe that you are providing incredible value in fair exchange for the compensation you receive.

Quotable Quote

One extremely notable quote, and the sentiment that lead into the discussion around the ‘7 Feel Good Sales Strategies’ was that “at the core of any sales transaction is value and trust.” This statement resonated so deeply simply because it goes from describing what Joy and Walker describe as the ‘what’ of your product or service, to the ‘why’. Being able to market a product or service in an authentic, honest way builds the a sense of rapport needed to develop a deep-seated sense of trust in an entire brand and the value of its offerings, before sales even occur.

Future Seminars

While I have previously attended a business-related webinar conducted by Joy McCarthy, this webinar, as like the last, did not disappoint. I left this webinar with so many valuable takeaways and ideas that I am excited to directly apply to my professional day-to-day social media and marketing activities. Due to the fact that I am employed within a health related field and have a personal interest in nutrition, attending a business event with ties into the health field is really encouraging and enjoyable to partake in. Overall, attending this event left me in high anticipation for future professional development events conducted by the inspiring and successful Joyous Health team.

COM0015 – Assignment 1 – Blog #3: Putting in face time

I have to say, I’m pretty good at coming up with strategies. I’ve been doing it professionally for the past ten years, and academically for almost two years through Algonquin. Lately I’ve even been doing it for friends without even being asked, just because I see opportunities for them to increase their business reach or personal influence. But a strategy for myself? For developing my own professional network online and in-person? There are a million other things I’d rather do than sit down with myself and come up with ways to be more visible.

That said, I’ve been increasingly dissatisfied at work for the past…oh…year or more. I’ve finally reached something of a breaking point, and am seeing how important it is for me professionally, and for my own mental wellbeing, to start to focusing on maintaining and increasing my network of connections.

My present strategy is still fairly informal, but I have made three specific commitments to myself that involve online and offline activities that should help me find my next career step.

    1. Job shadowing – in the Communications shop that I work in, the strategic side is largely separate from the digital side. This means that, as a strategist, I come up with the social media plans, but the day-to-day implementation and evaluation is handled by the digital side. As a result, I don’t get to work with the platforms that my department uses, nor do I get to play much of a role in analytics, or user experience. So, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to approach my manager to get his support for me to do some job shadowing in digital communications this fiscal year. I discussed it with him about two weeks ago, and he spoke with the manager of the digital team, and they told me to go for it.
    2. Updating my Linkedin profile – I used to only look at Linkedin every few months to make sure my résumé was still up to date, but I decided to give my profile a bit of a refresh – new photo, updated CV and job title – and change my settings so that my profile is flagged to recruiters. I also decided to try paying for the Premium service for a few months, to see if the additional insights make a difference in the number of views that my profile receives. I have noticed a few more views in the past month, and have connected with a few more of my current colleagues on the platform.
    3. “Wanna grab a coffee or a beer?” – this is the toughest one for me. I get really anxious at the prospect of hanging out one-on-one or in groups when the explicit purpose is networking. But I know that, in my line of work (as in most), the surest way to find new opportunities is through who you know. So, my goal for the next six months is to start reaching out to former colleagues and friends to meet in casual settings, and discuss their experiences in their current jobs, and seek their advice about where/for whom I might want to try working next. At least one of the former colleagues on my list is someone very much like myself – introverted, type A, prefers email to conversation – so she should be fairly easy for me to approach, and have good insights to share.

Honest networking

So, I’ve made a start. I’ve even applied for a couple of jobs in the past few weeks where I included links to my profile on Linkedin and Instagram. And I think it’s working – I had an interview this past week (keep your fingers-crossed for me!), which, whether I get the job or not, was a big confidence booster. And as I progress through the three commitments I’ve made, I’m sure they will give me the impetus to keep working on building my brand and expanding my networks.

How do you prefer to build your networks? When it comes to your career, do you think it’s better to focus your energy on your online or offline relationships?

Networking now  (COM0015)

Networking now (COM0015)

What is networking? To me the image of business owners standing in a room, exchanging pleasantries and business cards come to mind. However in this day and age it can be so much more.

With the creation of social media it is easier to find like minded individual, or even networklike-minded I am slowly joining and networking with local business owners and exchanging services. This is allowing me to create a personal network. I have also joined multiple Facebook group; there I have virtually met some great contacts.

Some of the groups I am in are planning some local meet ups and I am planning on going and growing my network.

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I am also working on creating online relationships; chatting, following others, learning, and forging links. I am trying to grow my network and slowly trying to expand out of my professional circle and expanding in french and english. I need to work on releasing appealing content for them.

Ultimately I want to be close enough in others forethoughts that if my industry comes up in regular conversation that my name would be one that they remember and suggest.  (Just as if you ask, I have a few businesses, local and online, that I can recall and suggest because of good networking).

COM0015 – Blog #3: Meeting over LinkedIn and a latte

For over a decade I despised LinkedIn. I resisted setting up an account. I ignored friends’ suggestions that it would be good for my career. I happily deleted unsolicited emails asking me to connect. And I rejoiced when I heard stories about people leaving the platform.

And then I got a new job. A job for which I’m qualified at least in part because of connections I’ve made in my previous work history.

A job in which I’m required to reach out to these contacts. And develop new ones.

StockSnap_JZTRVCLRJPI’m now a LinkedIn devotee. I scour the My Network page to see who I can connect with that will be a good contact to have – and who could possibly introduce me to someone else I should k

now. I’ve come to appreciate the value in knowing their work history, their previous experiences, their educational background. If nothing else, it makes it easier to start a conversation.

And I’m finding that conversation is best done in person. Reaching out is important, but meeting face to face is critical. Usually, there is a bit of reconnaissance that goes into preparing for the first meeting. Often it’s checking out their Twitter feed and/or Facebook pages to get a feel for their interests and their attitudes.

So LinkedIn and coffee are now my two main tools for developing relationships with key partners. It’s definitely a simple strategy, but it seems to be working.

Business agreement handshake at coffee shopI’ve been able to reconnect with people I haven’t spoken with in a while, catch up on what they’ve been up to, and let them know where I’m at. So it’s been good professionally, but also personally. It’s always nice to see old friends again.

In the coming months there are individuals I know it will be crucial for my organization to develop a relationship with. My goal is to establish these connections – and make them meaningful and productive. I don’t just want to have coffee with these people. I want something to come out of it.

If I’d known what I know now, I would have created a LinkedIn profile when I first entered the workforce. And I would have connected to everyone I met along the way. Obviously, I can’t redo it. But I can start now and build from there.

And Ottawa’s a small town. It shouldn’t be too hard to connect.

 

COM0015, Blog 3: My Professional Networking

Having a professional networking strategy that incorporates an online presence with face-to-face opportunities is nothing new to me. When it was time to leave my last job, I let my networks know and ensured my LinkedIn profile was up to date. While I was away on a vacation, there was a lot of activity on my profile and a voicemail message from John, the printing rep for the medical journals I was producing at the time. John had spoken with his coworker, Randy, who is the rep for Canadian Nurse, the magazine I am currently producing. Not only had Randy viewed my LinkedIn profile, so too did the Canadian Nurse editor-in-chief (EIC) who was looking for a new managing editor. The EIC messaged me, we met and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Virginia St-Denis

My professional network not only includes people I have worked with over the past 25 years and connections of connections on LinkedIn, but also various professional groups of which I am a member. With most of my career being writing and editing, I joined Editors Canada. The Ottawa-Gatineau branch offers monthly speaker nights and seminars (for example, see COM0015, Assignment 5: Writing and Editing for the Web). These are not only great opportunities for professional development, but also for meeting other editors in the National Capital Region. Editors Canada has an annual conference, which brings together editors from across Canada and beyond. In celebration of Canada’s 150th, the Ottawa-Gatineau branch will host the event June 9-11, 2017. I will attend to learn, share information and gain a few more contacts, I hope.

While I have covered the cost of Editors Canada activities myself, I find out-of-town professional development and networking opportunities outside of my budget. I’m thankful that my EIC has agreed to cover the cost of travel, accommodation and registration for MagNet: Canada’s Magazine Conference. Held in Toronto April 25-28, 2017, MagNet draws magazine professionals from across Canada, and not just editorial, but also design and circulation.

While my career has focused on writing and editing, my husband and I hope to turn our photography hobby into a retirement business. Whether a hobby or a business (we could charge for presenting workshops), Photography Meetup groups like the Ottawa Photography Meetup Group, Ottawa Photography Events, Ottawa Photography and Ottawa Nature and Conservation Photography Workshops are a great way to meet new people, learn and share knowledge.

One thing I know I need to do better is attending club meetings. While some groups like the Orleans Photo Club are inexpensive to join, others like the RA Photo Club are not. I also want to find out more about Facebook events as another way to meet people in the Ottawa area.

COM0015, Assignment 5: Writing and Editing for the Web

I am a 25-year publishing professional—writing, editing, photographing, desktop publishing and managing newspapers, magazines and journals. The majority of my work has been in print and I have personally experienced the decline in this industry. To help me transition into online and social media platforms, I am taking various courses and seminars.

One such seminar was Writing and Editing for the Web through the Ottawa-Gatineau Branch of Editors Canada I read printed material differently than I read web pages and I don’t think I’m alone. I wanted to learn the difference so I could better use online platforms to meet my readers’ wants and needs.

Moira White of Ubiquitext and past president of Editors Canada presented the full-day seminar on Nov. 24. I was particularly interested in learning techniques that draw readers to web pages and creating engaging content to keep them there longer.

For Moira, the answer to my question of how people read online today is simple: They don’t! (How’s that for a quotable quote? lol) Most people skim for information.

As a November 2013 report showed (a reference was not provided), more people get information on their mobile devices than their laptop and desktop computers. Mobile devices have narrower columns of text, giving the illusion of longer, more intimidating paragraphs. I need to remember to provide bite-sized chunks of information in smaller paragraphs because of that one fact.

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During the Writing and Editing for the Web seminar for Editors Canada, Moira White explains how writers encode and readers decode information. Depending on the medium writers choose to share their messages, readers can provide feedback, creating a loop.

As well, people retain less information when reading online, which makes organizing information into small chunks and providing plenty of headings even more important.

Moira suggests writing for the web should answer only three questions in this order:

  1. What?
  2. So what?
  3. Now what?

This gets the take-home message out quickly and succinctly, then provides context before making a call to action.

She also suggests starting each paragraph with a topic sentence (remember those from grade school?) For those who don’t remember, the first sentence of each paragraph introduces what the rest of the paragraph will be about. If readers want more information, they will read it. If not, they go to the next paragraph.

Networking While Learning

Sitting at the table with me were Jean Forrest from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Nikki Burke from Statistics Canada. Most of our discussion was about change: in our work environments, in language and in technology. Although neither uses social media, I shared that I am taking Algonquin College’s Social Media certificate program in hopes to expanding beyond print. Because the program doesn’t cover the basics about how to use each social media platform, I’m reading Social Media for Writers: Marking Strategies for Building Your Audience and Selling Books (Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine, 2015). I pulled the book out of my purse as I was reading it on the bus, and they each wrote down the name.

I also talked with Tricia Diduch from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and Josephine Versace from the Government of Canada Translation Bureau during the lunch break. Along with talking about the seminar content, we discussed social media, Algonquin’s program and my search for social media basics and best practices. They were also interested in finding best practices and said they would talk with social media people in their offices and email me information, which I need to follow up about.

As an Editors Canada member, I get a $125 discount on each of their seminars. The majority of the six seminars I took last year and two I’ve already taken this year (I have one more in March), have been invaluable. I expect I will take more next year. I highly recommend them.

COMM15 – Blog Post #3 / Networking Your Social Networks

Everything you put on social media is part of a brand.

Whether it is your business’s profile or it’s your own personal account, everything that is tweeted, posted, commented and favourited is a contribution to the overall development of a brand identity. Who and what you choose to engage with constitutes your social network – the schoolyard playground, so to speak, within which your brand develops and is actualized.

I have had plenty of experience in developing and maintaining various networks across several different brands – both personal and professional.

I’ve had the exciting opportunity to become quite invested in digital content in the sport industry, specifically in tennis, as a result of the networking I did on Twitter – all while using a completely different account from my personal one. I created a “tennis account” where I could follow and engage with tennis journalists, high-profile bloggers, players, and other key stakeholders in the industry. This engagement landed me a volunteer position at Rogers Cup in Montreal, which in turn landed me an internship at Tennis Canada in Toronto, which in turn has allowed me to explore various freelance opportunities within digital media across multiple sports.

On my personal accounts, I take a different approach. The network I’ve developed for myself on Facebook and Instagram, for example, constitutes largely friendships I’ve developed in person prior to engaging with them on social media. My brand of humour is at its best on Facebook, Instagram, and my other Twitter account – and I use that for my personal networking (and who knows, sometimes personal networking can become professional!)

Professional networking is best done in person – there’s no doubt about that. With the amount of options and images and words and people and profiles and everything on the internet, networking “irl” is the job interview you wouldn’t have got online – but that’s not to say there’s not something to be gained professionally in the digital space. In fact, there’s plenty to be gained.

LinkedIn is the number one social networking service for professionals. While I would hesitate to look up a prospective employer or employee (from a recruiter’s perspective) on their Facebook (which should be private and inaccessible anyway), I wouldn’t hesitate to research them on LinkedIn. The networking services that LinkedIn provides are paramount, giving you suggested connections on both real-life connections as well as connections that are aligned with your professional experiences and skills.

My personal commitment to the next several months of networking is to engage more with these platforms at a more frequent rate. It’s easy to let go of your digital presence when real life takes the wheel – and that can’t always be helped. But when it can, maintenance of your social networks is paramount. While I haven’t always been consistent in my posting across all my channels, particularly on LinkedIn, the more engaged I have been the more results I’ve seen in terms of growing my networks and getting myself out there – everywhere.