Steps to build your professional network.

Steps to build your professional network.

From answering emails to managing documents to ticking off social media obligations, it’s easy to spend an entire day networking – without ever actually having a conversation with a real person. Managing your work life can get monotonous and can feel like you’re in a loop. In such situations meeting new people and having real connections can be helpful. The rise of the internet has changed the entire networking landscape, but real connections are important as ever. Somewhere along the line, you need to start to build an in-person professional network.

Here’s what you can do to start the process of building a network that exists beyond an email thread or social network, and cultivate it into something meaningful and authentic.

Find a Mentor-

The first and most important step is to find someone you respect and would like to be guided by. The rule for a mentor-mentee relationship should be the same as any other. Both parties should like each other, respect each other and generally enjoy each other’s company so it can foster a long term meaningful partnership. 

Maximize your existing network

You should find people you already know who might have a connection to the industry you want to break into. Make a list of people you know who might have knowledge about the job or field you want to pursue. You can also ask your family or close friends who may have a connection and be happy to set you up and then reach out to them personally.

Meet new people

Come prepared with questions and learn something about them so that they know you are interested in them. If you’ve already done basic research, you should have a list of questions ready for your potential contact and post networking it’s also important to keep in touch. People are busy, so if you only have one meeting and don’t stay connected (beyond an initial thank-you note), they’re likely to forget about you when an opportunity arises.