These Tips For Expanding Your Professional Network Can Expand Your Professional Horizons
If you want to advance your tech career, open up new opportunities, and enrich your life professionally and personally, you may enjoy our tips for expanding your professional network.
You are likely familiar with the expression, it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know. This can be especially true in the IT industry. A broad professional network of talented, interconnected, and diverse information technology pros – who you know – can be just as impactful to your career trajectory as what you know.
Too often, however, people in tech and other industries only see networking as something you do when you’re looking for a job. The reality is that expanding your professional network should be an ever-present effort no matter how happy you are in your current position.
Yes, an expansive professional network will increase your chances of discovering and securing new career opportunities. But these same people can be instrumental in helping you grow your skillset and raise your profile in the tech community at every stage of your professional journey.
The bottom line is that if you’re a young tech pro who wants to get a leg-up on your colleagues, you need a good network.
4 Tips For Expanding Your Professional Network
1. Make A Good First Online Impression
You only have one chance to make a first impression. In today’s digitally sophisticated world, your online presence is often the first (and sometimes the only) information that others see about you. Even after meeting someone face-to-face, chances are they will look for you on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites.
Therefore, it is worth some time to lay a solid online foundation for such early interactions by tuning up your LinkedIn profile, your bio on your company’s website, and elsewhere. Not only should it be accurate, complete, and up to date, but it should also reflect who you are and your values and career objectives.
With a solid and compelling profile in hand, remember to use LinkedIn for what it was built for: making connections with others and building a solid stable of followers.
You should also consider bringing your personal social media in line with your professional presence. You would never want to lose a priceless professional connection because of what comes up when someone Googles your name.
2. Get Out Of Your Seat
You can acquire a great deal of knowledge and useful information by attending seminars, professional education events, or other functions where tech types like yourself gather to learn.
Such events are golden opportunities for networking, surrounded as you are by people in your industry or who share your same interests. Right off the bat, you have something in common with the scores or hundreds of people in attendance. Introduce yourself to those around you, get names and contact information, and make the rounds during breaks.
If a speaker is particularly interesting and engaging, stick around after their presentation to make conversation about what they just spoke about, ask questions, and make the connection. If all you do is sit in your chair listening and taking notes, that is all your presence will accomplish.
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3. Make Connections Outside The Tech Industry
Understandably, most professional networking efforts for young tech professionals focus on connecting with other tech professionals. But, as important as that is, you should not limit your networking to just the technology industry. There are plenty of people in other professions or areas who can help you broaden your horizons and open doors to opportunities you may not even know existed.
That retiree you met while volunteering at a local food bank? Their son may be launching a tech start-up in need of the programming talent you possess. That college classmate you reconnected with at an alumni event? They may know someone at a company you’ve always been interested in joining. Just getting to meet people outside of the tech bubble is an excellent way to make sure that you don’t live in a bubble as well.
4. Stay In Touch
No one wants to feel that their only value to you is when you need something from them. Professional networks, like friendships, don’t thrive when they are a one-way street or if you don’t keep in touch from time to time. In addition to expanding your professional network, make sure you take care of the network you already have. Reengage with your connections just to say hello and see what they’ve been up to. Like and give positive feedback on their posts. To be a (professional) friend, you need to be a (professional) friend!
Expand Your Professional Opportunities: Contact GTN Technical Staffing Today
At GTN Technical Staffing, our network includes the world’s top technology companies and most in-demand tech talent. We can help young tech pros like you connect with those employers starting right now. Contact us today to learn how we can help you move forward in your IT career.