Your network is one of the most valuable assets in the business world. It is important to leverage your connections to find business opportunities, career advice, and mentors in your industry, so be sure to keep your network strong and continually expanding. Many professionals have a rich but underutilized network. This article lists some of the places where you can find the connections you’ve already made, so you can leverage your network.
- Email – Look through your email address book at your old connections. Do any of them work in the same industry you do? Send them a quick email asking to get in touch via LinkedIn or for coffee to discuss recent industry trends or changes.
- Classmates and colleagues – Your old classmates, coworkers, colleagues and even former college professors are all valuable connections. Old college department friends are most likely in a relevant industry as you, so be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn and see if they live nearby. Keep in touch with your former college professors, as they are often amazing mentors after college, too.
- Your friends – Don’t forget your friends’ friends. These connections may not necessarily be in the same industry, dealing with the same work and career you are, but they can be valuable for new investments, ideas, and business. For example, you may find out that your friends’ friend works for a company you’d like to supply to. Or you could meet someone whose hiring method you’d like to implement in your own company. If there is someone in your extended network you’d like to meet, ask your friends in common if they would be willing to introduce you.
- LinkedIn groups – Join a popular LinkedIn group in your industry and begin interacting with fellow members. If you are in the same industry, chances are you share some of the same work habits, problems and questions. Connect with the fellow members, and even the group owner and add them to your network.
Make the most out of your network by finding your connections and keeping in touch on LinkedIn, sending a quick email, or setting up a lunch meeting. If you’d like to learn a little more about LinkedIn, please see our previous posts about LinkedIn basics.