Being able to network is a critical part of professional development. An article by CEOWorld Magazine notes how the benefits of influence networks can come as informational interviews, assistance when making a career change, and access to exclusive job postings and free resources. This mainly benefits college graduates and corporations, who can utilize an alumni network to meet their career goals. Aside from landing new roles, research has found that lifelong relationships have improved work ethic, leading to a 2.8 times increase in revenue per employee and a 4.5 times increase in product innovation.
However, many people tend to underestimate who they can connect with professionally. An LHH guide on how to build a network highlights how professional networking needs to expand beyond your company colleagues. Everyone you know is within your network, including suppliers, relatives, friends, your family doctor, and people you meet in leisure activities. It’s essential to reach out to relevant people and reignite those relationships. Reconnecting with them enables you to recall projects you worked on together, discuss career goals, and potentially help you get introduced to two or three other people who can help you in your professional journey.
In the digital age, it has become more convenient to sustain rapport with people. Networking sites and applications have risen up to help professionals stay connected while maintaining a separation of their business and personal profiles. In this article, we visit the top five professional networking sites you should consider this 2023:
For almost everyone, LinkedIn is the go-to professional networking platform online. Its model is straightforward: build your profile and find related professionals and connect with them. Like most social media, LinkedIn has a home feed that enables individuals to read about topics they’re interested in— making it a good way to establish connections. Our post “5 Hacks to Improve Social Media Visibility Like a Pro” notes how tagging can boost your visibility online. If you’re looking to engage with your newfound network, you can try tagging them in posts that they may be interested in to increase engagement.
Much like LinkedIn, Xing provides users an opportunity to showcase their profiles and connect with other people. In addition, users can also catch up on industry news, find jobs, and research company profiles. Premium users get access to services like advertising, professional coaching, and editing assistance for cover letters and resumes, all of which can help with networking. Do note that most people on the platform are Europeans, so anyone looking for work abroad can benefit from networking here.
For people looking to connect in person, Meetup is a great place to find other people with similar interests and different personal and professional backgrounds. Depending on your preferences, you can search for local events to attend or plan your own networking event. Sometimes face-to-face meetings can be more effective. Corporate trainer Paul Axtell notes how these often convey a sense of intimacy, connection, and empathy, which is otherwise hard to do on video or chat. By meeting in person, you may build stronger connections with like-minded professionals.
While most people use Slack for communicating with their existing co-workers, you can also extend your reach to other industry workers through the Slack Community program. Mainly run by volunteer developers and users, Slack Community chapters provide a space to hone your professional skills and knowledge by opening discussions between experts and novices. However, for users who are easily distracted by multiple message notifications, it’s best to adjust your notification settings to mitigate any issues.