How to Build Your Networking Connections (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 18, 2022 | Published May 2, 2022

Updated October 18, 2022

Published May 2, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Developing your professional network may provide opportunities to help your job search process and provide assistance as you develop in your career. You can start your network with friends, teachers, classmates, or co-workers and grow from there by joining organizations, attending industry events, and connecting with professionals on social media. Learning more about connections in your network and how to utilize them can increase your chances of getting hired for a job. In this article, we define networking connections, explain why they are important, discuss how to network successfully, and highlight who you can include in your network.

Related: How To Build Connections in 10 Steps (With Benefits)

What are networking connections?

Networking connections are professional contacts in your industry and adjacent fields. Typically, the purpose of professional networking is to solicit favours from others in your network and to assist them in return. For instance, if you're searching for a new job, you can ask someone in your professional network to put you in contact with someone at their organization.

The more individuals you network with, the more people you have access to when you want a professional favour. This can eventually enhance your career and assist you in achieving your professional objectives. You can establish a professional network in various settings, online and offline. The following are typical locations where individuals network with one another:

  • Networking events

  • Clubs for college or university alumni

  • Professional sports groups or teams

  • Expositions and conferences

  • Present career or job

  • Social gatherings

  • Professional-oriented social media platforms

Related: 11 Types of Networking Events to Attend for Professional Growth

Why is networking important?

Networking is essential for various reasons, including:

  • Allows you to develop mutually beneficial connections with individuals in your sector

  • Helps you enhance and grow your skills

  • Gives you access to information relevant to the current trends in business

  • Exposes you to possible clients, partners, and mentors

  • Enables you to learn about career possibilities in your chosen sector or business

  • Increases your visibility to managers within the company

  • Supports your efforts for advancement within a business

Read more: Why Is Networking Important? (With Benefits and Tips)

How to develop networking connections

Knowing the fundamentals of networking makes it easier to form beneficial networking connections. Regardless of whether you attend in-person or online business networking events, the following steps may help enhance your confidence and success:

1. Define your networking objectives

Set goals to assist you with navigating the networking process, ensuring you are making the most use of your time and resources. You can determine your objectives for networking with industry professionals to help with employment opportunities, industry knowledge enhancement, and career counselling.

Once you've established your objectives, you can look for contacts to help you achieve them. Consider your present contacts and identify which ones possess the attributes you seek. Perform a search for experts that meet these criteria outside of your network as well. You can also determine which industry events they might attend based on their work titles, regions, and previous experiences and try to attend those events.

2. Attend industry events

Numerous professional organizations conduct industry events. You can attend these events to meet some of your online acquaintances in person. Several of them may be educational activities or workshops that can assist you in acquiring new skills or improving existing ones. Make an effort to meet new individuals at these events and form as many relationships as possible. Additionally, you may conduct an internet search to see which industry events are taking place near you, such as conferences, conventions, or seminars.

3. Ask connections to review your resume

If your primary objective in developing and growing your network is to generate more employment leads, meet with them in person to get job search advice and guidance. Inviting contacts for lunch and bringing your resume is a good idea. Involve them in the decision-making process by asking their opinion and insight on what employers value most. They may provide advice on the rest of the job search process, such as locating organizations that fit your interests, developing your interview skills, and creating an effective cover letter or resume.

4. Create an effective elevator pitch

Prepare an elevator pitch before meeting with any professionals. An elevator pitch is a 30- to 60-second speech highlighting your talents, experience, and background. When networking for possible career prospects, highlight your abilities and explain why you may be an excellent fit for an organization. When introducing yourself to experts, try to deliver a concise, appealing, and persuasive pitch. After your pitch, invite them to connect further by offering them a business card, social media accounts, or contact information.

5. Stay connected

Regardless of where you are in your career, you may already have a network. You can contact people you know who may assist you in advancing your career. This includes acquaintances, classmates, current or former co-workers, family members, and colleagues. You can develop these connections by personally contacting them or interacting with them on social media. Request an in-person meeting with them over dinner or coffee to discuss your career objectives and aspirations.

They may provide direction, resources, and advice on advancing in your sector, or they may provide contact information from their contacts who can assist you in meeting your professional and career goals.

6. Use social media to find new connections

You may utilize social media to identify and interact with possible contacts. It's also an excellent starting point if you're worried about attending gatherings and conversing in person. Establish connections with those in your industry who share your beliefs, objectives, and interests. Send them a message summarizing who you are and why you want to connect. Continue communicating with them by commenting on their posts or engaging in a casual back-and-forth dialogue via social media. Once you've developed a professional connection with them online, you may feel more at ease connecting with them in person.

Related: Guidelines on How to Network

7. Find new connections online

While many individuals network professionally in person, you may also meet new people online. Connecting with individuals online may assist you in expanding your network. If you maintain a professional presence on a social media site, consider establishing a weekly target of adding five new contacts. You can include people, such as co-workers from different departments or people you meet at in-person networking events.

It can also be beneficial to contact specialists in your industry. If the expert publishes content consistently, you may gain vital knowledge to apply to your job. If you're looking to develop a more personal relationship, send them a private message with a question about business or a statement about how much you like their work.

Related: Why Is Networking Important? (With Benefits and Tips)

Who to include in your professional network

Numerous individuals may be part of your professional network. Here's a list of people you can consider adding:

  • Instructors from college or university: If you had a close relationship with any of your professors, you could add them to your professional network. Your network can include any teachers you had during your academic experience.

  • Former classmates: You can consider including former college or university classmates in your network beyond your time in school.

  • Friends: Be sure to connect with friends in your professional network. You can inform your friends of your career ambitions, so they know them and can support you if any opportunities arise.

  • Colleagues: Your professional network can include both previous and present co-workers. These people have a strong understanding of your professional talents and capabilities, which enables them to assist you in defining and achieving objectives or developments for your career.

  • Professional organization or club members: You can network with other members if you are a professional organization or club member. Interacting with people who aren't in your current work environment but still in your field or industry may help you create new connections that are beneficial to you professionally.

  • Family: Your family is also a vital part of your professional network. Even if there isn't anyone in your immediate family who works in your sector, you can keep them informed of your career ambitions in case a relative knows someone who can assist you.

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