Author: Tara Smylie
About one thing, modern psychology is certain: we humans are social creatures. Whether you’re looking to skill up, or take on new projects as a freelancer – don’t underestimate the power of connections!
Below you’ll find some useful tips to help you build a thriving network of connections in your professional life.
1. Social Media Is Your Friend
Intentional outreach on Linkedin is a fabulous place to start. Don’t be scared to pull the trigger and connect with someone you don’t know – especially if you add a short, sweet, and to-the-point note to go along with it.
Joining intentional groups on Linkedin is another great way to meet people in your field. Let’s say you’re a chemical engineer looking to learn more about the management aspect of the life science field. By joining a group of like-minded individuals, you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of perspectives, resources, and ideas that you may never have even thought of.
2. Expand your reach – geographically and topically
You never know who you’re going to cross paths with, and how you might help each other when you do. Though it’s important to know people with similar goals, another key part of building a solid network is finding people different from yourself to connect with. If you’re all bringing the same thing to the table, there’s a limit to how much you can partner with each other and learn from each other.
3. Get out to in-person events
They’re not obsolete yet! There’s nothing quite like in-person connection to get the ball rolling with someone new – and your wheels spinning with new ideas for collaboration. In-person events allow you to gain a sense of someone’s personality more quickly, and to ask questions that you might not feel comfortable asking in an online setting. Often there are activities, workshops, or other focal points of in-person networking events too – so you’ll likely have a career-relevant icebreaker to get the blood flowing.
4. Reach out for assistance
People love being asked for help. It makes them feel important, and builds their confidence in their own skills and reputation. If you’re seeking opportunities to learn something new, are trying to start a new group, or simply desire someone to talk to about your latest career undertakings, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone. Asking for help is a vulnerable thing to do, and will only deepen the connections you have.
And as long as you’re not being pushy about it, don’t worry about being a burden. Before you know it, the shoe will be on the other foot, and it will be the helpers who came through for you that need your assistance.
5. Enroll in a course
What better way to meet others in your chosen field than to learn the same new skills together, at the same time?
Nowadays, it’s trickier than ever to meet people in a school setting – so many offerings are online-only. Of course, it’s possible to connect with classmates online if you’re determined enough – but consider in-person courses first if you’re looking to fast-track the expansion of your network.
In an educational environment, everyone is looking to improve themselves somehow, and to add something new to their lives. This openness to change makes people especially open to new connections, too – so grab the chance to take in-person courses and classes whenever you can.
If there’s one thing we know about connections, it’s that they lead to more connections. Stay home and think about how great it would be to have a network, and you’ll probably find yourself expanding your circle at a snail’s pace. But choose to leap out of your nest and into the world – even if you have to flail and fumble a little bit – and you’ll come away happier, more fulfilled, and ready to soar into the next phase of your career.
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