Networking in the Modern Era: Top Tips for Professionals
Who you know plays a massive role in what you can do. At the end of the day, after all, people would rather work with someone they’re familiar with or who comes with good recommendations from someone that they trust. You can absolutely get jobs without knowing anyone at the workplace, but it’s by far easier to stand out when you have a network that not only supports you but actively recommends you for new roles.
Networking, however, can look vastly different than it has in the past. If you want to improve your career, then start using these top modern tips today.
Your University Network
One of the most unique, robust, and useful network organizations you should already have access to is your alumni network. Take healthcare administrators, for example. One of the key principles of MHA networking is to start by staying in touch with your fellow graduates. Most universities also have a thriving alumni network that you can stay in touch with. Use them as a source for advice, to get interesting job roles, and, most importantly, to build strong relationships.
There may also be intercollegiate organizations. For example, the American College of Health Care Executives organizes events not just to meet and greet but to share ideas, debate, and help shape the future of healthcare leadership and organization to combat the latest trends, shifts in technology, and societal needs.
Don’t just wait for the big cats to come to town. Chances are there are local, smaller events that will help you both learn and grow in your career and network at the same time. You don’t even necessarily need to only attend events specific to your role. A healthcare administrator, for example, can still benefit from attending any health-related talk, workshop, and so on. If you know what those working under you are doing, you can better lead them in their process.
Do you want to establish and nurture a connection with someone you likely won’t meet anytime soon? Start online. You can connect on job sites like LinkedIn and start slowly engaging with their posts. Be sociable and helpful, and slowly start moving into direct conversations that can then lead to an offer for a one-on-one meeting where you can discuss your specific career aspirations or even problems.
Nurturing Your Network
Meeting people is the first baby step in networking. From there, you need to nurture that network so that people find value in your relationship. This can be very hard nowadays, simply because the net is cast far wider than it was in the past.
That’s why you’ll want to use these tips to keep in touch and further your relationship with other professionals:
- Be active online by engaging with posts on LinkedIn or social media. Support those in your network, congratulate them, debate with them, etc.
- Start your own conversations online. Post questions, hold polls, create resources, and so on. This way, your network learns to come to you for information.
- Offer help and advice freely. If you want others to help you in the future, you need to extend a hand of help to them first.
- Meet one-on-one. Meeting people that live in the same city as you or those visiting your city is a great way to foster strong connections.
Staying active, being helpful, and bridging digital connections to in-person connections are key to establishing, nurturing, and benefitting from your network.