Even though social networking is all the rage, it is still to your benefit to pay attention to your offline network—those people who you know personally, not just virtually. If you are interested in growing your professional network within your field, here are some practical steps to give you depth and breadth with new professional contacts:
1) Join or renew your membership in a professional association. One of the best places to network is your professional association. The people that you meet in this setting are people in your field, most of whom are employed at different organizations. It’s best to cultivate your network in a professional association before you plan to look for another position so that your network is already in place before you need it to help you land new employment.
2) Actively participate in meetings. To gain visibility and credibility with other professional association members, attend monthly meetings and participate. Other members will get to know who you are if you are in regular attendance.
3) Join committees. One of the best ways to get involved in a professional association and to grow your network while forming deeper relationships with members is to join a committee. The other committee members will come to know you professionally as they interact with you for the good of the organization. Most associations are begging for people to join committees because most members are too busy to devote time to this endeavor. If you are willing and able to serve on committees, you will probably be welcomed with open arms.
Remember, your current position is temporary. Your professional contacts are permanent. Nurture your network so that the seeds that you plant today will reap dividends tomorrow.
To learn other ways that a career coach can help you grow your network offline as well as online, call 877-743-9521 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.