Networking is one of those activities that gets shelved because you are busy. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those activities that needs to be consistent in order to do any good to your career. This is because the nature of networking is relationships, and if you only connect with people when you need them, you are viewed in a negative light. You also miss out on a lot of positive things when you don’t connect, so it’s a good idea to put it on your schedule.
If LinkedIn Is A Garden, It Has Weeds
One of the most productive professional networking sites available today is LinkedIn, but that success means that there’s spam — the weeds of the web. It gets overwhelming if you don’t do a little maintenance every day. Since the average professional on the site gets far more stuff sent to them than they want, your contact attempts can get lost in the spam weeds.
Use the tools available to you and start with your profile. How do you rank? Who’s looking at your profile? Do you share any interests other than a career category? Think hobbies, non-profits you support, and anything that you share with those names and reach out on a personal level to turn the name into a person for both of you. This connection keeps you from being seen as one more weedy spam item choking their inbox.
Cultivate Connections For Growth
People are living things; they grow and change and need regular maintenance. Since networking is all about people, it makes sense that there’s a need for regular maintenance in this area. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this, but even 10 or 15 minutes a day checking your LinkedIn page and deliberately reaching out to one person in your network on a personal level will keep that connection healthier.
As you develop these professional relationships by becoming acquainted personally, you lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial networking experience.