How to make the most of your professional network

Building your professional network is one of the best things you can do to advance your career. There’s nothing complicated about it. Networking just means staying in touch with people because it’s useful for your career and for theirs. Even if you are fairly new to the world of work, you probably already have some type of network. They could be friends and people you went to school or college with. You need to build your professional network in the same way and learn how to use it effectively.

 

Here are some ways you can advance your career using your network:

 

  • Learn About A Potential Employer
    Whenever you’re going for a job interview, find out as much as you can about the company. You may be able to learn a lot from your network and their contacts. If you search for the person who’s going to interview you (on LinkedIn), don’t worry about them finding out that you viewed their profile. This is a positive sign in your favour. It shows that you prepared well for the interview.

  • Learn About A Career
    When you’re considering a particular career, you want to find out as much about it as you possibly can. There may be people in your network who can help — either because they work in that field or they know someone who does. 

  • Get Advice
    Let’s say you’re asked to deal with something at work but you have little relevant experience. You’ll often find that your network can help. Either someone in your network will be able to provide the help you need or they’ll connect you with someone who can. 

  • Sales 
    Of course, you can also use your network to sell your services. However, you need to be careful about this. If people realise that you only use your network to promote yourself, they’ll soon lose interest. If you want to get something, you have to give something back. See your network as a community. Participate, make your contribution, help others whenever you can. If you do this, people won’t mind when you occasionally include a sales message.