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6 Networking Ideas to Improve Your Career

On paper, you may have everything that your ideal employer wants. If you don’t know the right people, though, even the most well-polished resume and spot-on experience in the world isn’t going to help. The importance of networking in the world of business simply can’t be overemphasized. Even after you’ve landed your dream job, it’s crucial to maintain good networking habits. By doing so, you’ll be able to advance your career in a more efficient and effective way; the following six ideas can help.

  1. Informational Interviews
    Informational interviews are great ways to get your feelers out there about prospective jobs within your field of interest. In an informational interview, you sit down with someone who holds a position that you are interested in pursuing. While such an event is a lot less stressful and regimented than a formal job interview, it should still be carried out in a professional manner. The icing on the cake of doing such interviews is that you can ask for business contacts at the end of the interview. Those contacts can be used to improve your overall networking situation.
  2. Social Networking
    Whenever you make a new business contact, ask for their social networking information. It’s easy to stay connected with people online, thanks to the proliferation and popularity of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. With a few clicks of the mouse button and couple of keystrokes per day, you can stay in touch with people from within your industry with ease.
  3. Blogs and Forums
    If you don’t already interact on forums and blogs that relate to your industry, start doing so. Zero in on the most popular and well-executed blogs and forums from within your field of interest. Get into the habit of checking in with them daily. Make a point of commenting on a regular basis so that you can stay in the loop about what’s happening. More importantly, those comments will help you to make new connections within the industry – and to help acquaint yourself with others.
  4. Your Own Website
    A great way to spread a wide net in the networking world is by starting your own blog or website. Keep it as industry-specific as you can and resist the temptation to fill it with fluff. Instead, work hard on it and fill it with useful content that others will find valuable. From time to time, try to spark conversations about hot-button issues within your industry. You’d be amazed by how many people will start chiming in. Market your blog or website via various social networking conduits and you will bolster your networking potential considerably.
  5. Industry Events
    You don’t have to be extremely fond of socializing in order to get something out of industry events. The fact of the matter is that such events are designed with networking in mind. By simply showing up at events within your industry, you will rub shoulders with many people who could provide amazing benefits for your career.
  6. Volunteer or Side Jobs
    While relaxing is a great way to spend your spare time, you should dedicate a decent percentage of your extra time with volunteer activities or side jobs. Ask around about volunteer opportunities within your industry – you may be surprised by what you discover. Look into freelance or consulting opportunities that relate to your industry, as well. These are great ways to get your name out there in a truly positive way.
    By including as many of the preceding ideas into your everyday life, you can kick your networking potential up by a considerable margin. Give it a shot – you are sure to see amazing results in no time.