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Finding success through professional networking

When asked to define success, most employees equate that to job promotions, pay raises, and better benefits through an employer. Ask these same employees about the easiest path towards success, and you will soon find a mix of answers, with the respondents often lacking confidence in the keys to gaining the success they aim for. True, several paths exist to achieve professional success, but successful professional networking usually leads to the greatest success.

Building a viable professional network. One must first create a network to succeed through a professional network. At a basic level, this means connecting with colleagues where you work to brainstorm ideas, collaborate on projects, and celebrate one another’s achievements. Branch out from there to incorporate higher-ups into your network. The easiest way to do this is to excel in your work. That means getting work done and doing more than the bare minimum! The effort to always shine, completing projects or tasks in record time, under budget, and completing more than what was required by a boss, contract, or even your position descriptions. From there, reach out and see how you can help others achieve career success. Helping someone else successfully complete a project may earn you not money or recognition, but the colleague or boss you help will likely remember your support and recommend you for promotions or jobs with new companies or organizations down the road. Next, it is important to utilize social media sites like LinkedIn to network with professionals around the world. Don’t just create an account and leave it idle or dormant. Engage with professionals by sharing their posted content, asking them questions about their work, and answering any questions they have. It would be best if you utilized LinkedIn to build a beneficial and impactful network. Take time to recognize connections for anniversaries, birthdays, and career achievements. Make time each week to delve deeper to see if a connection needs assistance, a sounding board, or someone to talk with. Follow through with all this advice, and you will significantly increase the likelihood that your professional network will lead you to greater career and personal success.

Jobs. Whether recently laid off or simply looking for a new company or organization to work with for professional growth, reach out to your network for assistance. Let them know your circumstances and ask for their help in identifying new job opportunities. Let them know your salary needs and your short- and long-term career goals. Ask them to write letters of recommendation if employers ask for them. In just hours of reaching out to your network, you could find yourself with interview opportunities, a list of open jobs NOT POSTED, glowing letters of recommendation, and possibly even job offers.

Training. Career fields constantly change as new ideas, approaches, and technologies force jobs to evolve. For this reason, employees need to be aware of the vital training or activity for tomorrow’s job market. What are trends in the field that you need to prepare for? What software is revolutionizing the field, and is something you should train for? Periodically ask those in your network and find suitable training. Can’t find relevant or suitable training? As your network for guidance so you can successfully complete the training.

Other contacts. Our professional networks should continue to grow, especially given how fields evolve. Those in your network might not be aware of changes coming to the field. Therefore, ask those in your network for recommendations on other professionals to connect with. In doing so, you will expand your network, which will, in turn, provide more opportunities for training and job opportunities.

Market trends. To succeed professionally, you must stay ahead of developments in your field. What is tomorrow’s hot market? What technology is the wave of the future in your area? What business idea or paradigm is growing momentum in your field? The answers to these questions are pivotal to your long-term professional success. How do you get the answers to these questions? Ask those in your network!

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