10 Ways to Strengthen Your Networks and Advance Your Career
You’ve probably heard that it’s important to be connected in order to tap into career opportunities. Building connections with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences fuels both personal and professional growth.
You know it’s important, but it’s not always easy. Luckily, there’s more than one way to network.
At Meridia, our team of recruitment professionals are skilled in the art of creating strong connections and extensive networks, so we asked them to share their best networking tips ...
- Develop a strategy.
What are your interests? In what areas do you need to build new connections? Consider your short and long-term career goals and work back from there. Your plan may require you to step outside your comfort zone to build relationships with those who can really influence your career. Establishing clear actions and timelines will keep you focused and accountable.
- Focus on quality over quantity.
The number of connections in your network is not as important as creating meaningful connections. Connect with purpose and nurture the relationships you have.
- Give more than you take.
Consider what you will bring to the conversation, as well as what you hope to gain. No one wants a friend who only calls when they need something. Be considerate of your connection’s time and ask yourself “How can I help this person?” rather than simply “How can this person help me?” Treating each meeting or conversation with a long-term lens, rather than expecting something at the end of the conversation, is the best approach.
- Seek out people you admire.
Having conversations with leaders in roles you aspire to hold is a great way to learn about a career path you are interested in — and determine if it’s the right fit for you.
- Ask for referrals.
Who in your network already knows the people you want to connect with? Ask them for help in making an introduction.
- Use social media ...
Ensure your social media profiles are professional and reflective of the professional you strive to be, especially on LinkedIn.
- ... but don’t rely on social media alone.
Social media is an important tool, but it should augment your networking efforts — not replace them. Look for opportunities to meet with colleagues and industry professionals face-to-face, whether it’s inviting someone to lunch or coffee or attending industry events. And don’t underestimate the power of a personalized cold call or email to initiate a new connection.
- Get involved in your community.
Volunteer with industry associations and career-relevant not-for-profit roles. Build relationships outside of the organization you work for. Not only will you be giving back to the community, you’ll also become visible to potential future employers and stay on top of industry trends.
- Stay open-minded.
Don’t overthink a connection. You never know where an introduction can lead. Advice, support and referrals can come from surprising sources. When a networking opportunity arises, seize it. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
- Make networking a part of your routine.
Networks aren’t built overnight. Consider what practices you can build into your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule to ensure you are building — as well as maintaining — your network with a consistent approach.
Do yourself a favour and take time to reflect on your current approach to networking. What small changes could you make today to move you closer towards your career goals? Commit to taking action and see your network strengthen and expand.
Take the first step in expanding your network by becoming a part of ours. Register your resume in our confidential database to be considered for upcoming career opportunities.