The best practices for building effective professional network
Building a professional network is one of the greatest things you can do in order to advance your career, especially when you’ve just graduated. Many professionals and graduate students don’t know how to go about it. But, professional networking is not quite complicated as it might appear. Even when you are just starting out, you are already considered as a part of a network that brings together your classmates, teachers and possibly employers and colleagues you’ve got the chance to meet during your internship or apprenticeship training. The next step to learn is how to expand, maintain, and effectively use your network.
But first, what is a professional network?
A professional network can be defined as a group of people who have connected with each other for professional or business-related reasons. All of the members of this network, who are called contacts or connections, can share information that sometimes may include job leads. They may also help each other solve work-related problems, recommend new qualified professionals, and provide information about potential employers, and clients.
4 reasons why professional networking is important
While a professional network can, of course, help you find potential employers when you are looking for a job, there are many other ways to advance your career. Here are just a few of them:
#1 When you are a professional, starting a first ” real job “, it is essential to gather information that can help you better understand the issues and challenges of the position you are considering. While there are resources available to help you explore your options, one of the best ways to learn more about a career is to conduct an informative interview with someone who is currently working in it. You can turn to your network for help to get people to answer your questions.
#2 If you are working in the area of human resources, your network can put you in touch with qualified candidates who match the needs of the company you work for. Your network can also help you find atypical professionals who are often missing from job boards and traditional advertisements. Hunting down these passive candidates is far from being a waste of time, as long as the members of your network and their contacts are willing to help you.
#3 Are you planning to start your own business but you are worried about tackling a new set of challenges? A member of your network who has already embarked on the entrepreneurial adventure may be able to offer advice or put you in touch with someone who can guide and support you. One note of caution, however: never share your confidential information.
#4 Would you like to apply for a particular position? Learn about your potential employers to be well prepared for job interviews. To do this, you can get valuable information by talking to members of your network and their contacts who are working in the environment you are targeting.
Who should be in your professional network?
You have to be selective, because your professional network must reflect your identity and personality. Also, your contacts must be carefully selected to avoid having your reputation tarnished by the questionable and immoral actions of some of them.
Connect with the colleagues you are currently working with but keep on good terms with your former coworkers. Go to conferences and introduce yourself to other participants. Feel free to share your business card. Your former teachers and classmates must be part of your professional network.
Keep your professional network alive
You must treat your professional network as a living being, and for good reason, or it will be useless. The last thing you want is to get in touch with a contact of your network who doesn’t remember you and miss out on a great opportunity.
Make plans to meet with people with whom you have or had a personal relationship, including former coworkers. Communicate with them regularly and feel free to share interesting content and respond to comments. Keep your information up to date and don’t forget to notify your contacts when you make a change like getting a promotion or starting a new job.
ABSParis aims to support its students with their international career. To this end, the ABSParis offers a curriculum based on the American education system. Its program is open to secondary school graduates and university students as well as international students.