In 2021, networking is one of the most important things when it comes to building your career. Building relationships with like-minded people, especially in similar industries, can open the door to various opportunities.
Building a career can be difficult, and having a strong network to build professional relationships with, discuss ideas, learn and build new skills, and get motivation from can be one of the best things in any stage of your career.
Keep reading to learn more about networking, and for some networking tips to help you kickstart your career.
What Is Networking?
Networking is essentially connecting with professional contacts to discuss ideas and share information.
When you think networking, you may think of formal conference rooms – however, networking can take many forms, both informal and formal.
It can be joining an online group, exchanging business cards, or meeting an associate for coffee. Networking can be done pretty much anywhere, both online and in person.
Some common places you may network in person include conference rooms, coffee shops, or community centres, and some spaces you may network online include online forums or social networks such as Linkedin, Facebook, or Clubhouse.
It is an essential part of modern business and can be extremely useful in helping you to kickstart your career.
A strong and inclusive network can be one of the most beneficial things you can do to achieve career success in its early stages – networking can help to improve your credibility, provide you with support, and motivate you to do your best.
How Can I Use Networking To Kickstart My Career?
Networking can be extremely beneficial, but it can be difficult to know where exactly to begin. Keep reading for tips on how you can use networking to help give your career a boost.
Use Linkedin On A Regular Basis
Linkedin is one of the most popular networking tools and can connect you with people from any industry all around the globe. With over 600 million people using Linkedin, you’re sure to be able to build a good network.
The first step is creating a profile – when doing so, it’s important that your profile picture looks somewhat professional – it’s the first thing people will see when you add them to your network or request a chat.
You’ll then get the chance to write information about yourself and your career – be sure that any information you post is accurate and spelt correctly, as first impressions matter – especially online, where most people decide who they’re going to add in a second or two.
However, many people make the mistake of not posting enough, or not posting at all.
Sharing pictures and video content is a sure way to get engagement – research suggests that images will get 94% more views, as can videos, documents, and other visual media.
If you’re struggling to think of content ideas, it can be helpful to share other peoples posts that you find interesting, or that you think will be beneficial to your network.
Check Out Other Online Networking Sites And Apps
As great as Linkedin is, it isn’t the only networking platform out there. In 2021, there are plenty of quality networking websites and apps that can help you to grow your network and connect with like-minded people from all industries.
Instead of just using the one networking platform (which many of us are guilty of), it’s best to branch out and explore other sites and apps if you want to truly expand your network and connect with a variety of different people.
Many people only use Facebook for personal uses, but it can be great for connecting with professional contacts. There are thousands and thousands of groups you can join on Facebook, relevant to any industry or niche.
In these groups, you can ask questions, share information, and have meaningful conversations, which is always useful in the early stages of your career.
On the likes of Meetup, Facebook, or Clubhouse, you can arrange face-to-face meetings, whether it be 1 on 1 or a group meeting.
You can also secure invites to group events, Zoom sessions, and conferences, where you’ll have the chance to expand your network even further.
Attend Events When You Can
If you see an online event or a group meeting in person, always try your best to attend if it’s relevant to your industry or niche.
Attending these events can connect you with even more people who share similar visions or values to yourself, and can give you the chance to learn more about certain topics.
Attending events both online and in-person is a step up from messaging online, and can help you to progress your professional relationships and even develop friendships.
Many virtual events will have a purpose – for example, to learn more about SEO, or to share ideas about a certain topic, which can help to expand your knowledge in that particular area.
Connect With The Right People
Online networking can be daunting, as there are so many people to connect with that it can be difficult to know exactly who to connect with.
Many people start their online networking journey by following or connecting with influencers or celebrities, which can be useful in understanding the current trends and news.
However, it’s also important to branch out and connect with regular people.
If you’re starting your career in a particular industry, or you have your eye on a role at a certain company, then connect with other people in that industry or company.
It can give you a great insight into the company’s values and can put you one step above others when applying for a job there.
Following or connecting with people in your industry is essential if you want to gain a firmer understanding of the industry.
Doing this can help you build connections with useful contacts who can help to answer any questions you may have, and provide support if needed.
Making the right connections can essentially be the difference between getting a job and not getting a job – as one of your connections may be the one to refer you to their recruitment team if there are job roles available.