Just like your social network where you have so many friends and sometimes even friends of friends, a professional network is a place where you know people through business and sometimes their contacts as well. These days, people are hired not just with their education degrees but sometimes also through the people they might know. A glowing recommendation from your previous supervisor who incidentally knows the hiring manager of the job you are applying for, is one of those instances where having a strong professional network can be so beneficial.
Building out a strong professional network can be a tedious task. But it is not an impossible one. Stepping out of your shell and gaining courage to speak to random strangers is certainly the way to go. While it may be easier said than done, it is a practice that can be perfected if it were given the time and effort it requires.
Here are a few ways to build a strong professional network:
LinkedIn is the most powerful social media platform for professional networking. This is the first place people go to connect with people. A strong LinkedIn profile which consists of all the details relevant to your professional work can certainly boost your professional network. These connections that are made through LinkedIn come in handy when meeting the same people in an event or a business meeting. This helps you stay prepared and even connect on certain similarities such as studying in the same university, etc.
Events are the perfect place to network with other professionals. It is an opportunity to speak to someone right in front of you and connect with them through work or similar industries. You can certainly use these events as an opportunity to speak to bigger business professionals such CEOs, VPs or even founders that may potentially be interested in hiring you. On the other hand, they may also know of colleagues or contacts that may be looking to hire people with similar expertise.
The professors that you meet during university, the supervisors that conduct your internship, the student cohort that you study with or the fellow interns in your internship program, all these different people are already your professional network. Now the task is to maintain these contacts. Touch base with your professors during uni and delve into their network to see who might potentially be a good employer, or touch base with a fellow intern from a previous program to help you with an interview at their firm that is well suited to your career aspirations.
A strong professional network can certainly boost your chances of employability but it also helps you make connections that can benefit you in the future.