Developing a solid professional network is essential to your career success. Whether you’re looking for a job or simply want to keep up to date with the latest trends in your industry, having a professional network can help you achieve your goals. But how do you develop and maintain your network? In this blog, we’ll explore the different ways you can connect with other professionals, from attending in-person events to using online social networks. We’ll also discuss the benefits of having a strong professional network and why developing one is crucial for individuals and companies alike. Follow us on this adventure in the art of networking!
What is a professional network?
Have you ever thought about your professional network? Often overlooked, it can be a great help, especially when looking for a job or keeping abreast of developments in your sector. But what is a professional network? We can divide it into three levels: The first level relates to personnel. These are your family and friends, to whom you can confide without restraint. But also think about the skills they may have. Your uncle, who works in a large company, might be able to give you a helping hand to get a job. Or your friend who has started permaculture, perhaps she’s looking for a partner?
The second level is professional. Colleagues, former colleagues or managers are the first people we focus on. But don’t forget all the people you’ve met or still meet. Your customers, suppliers and meetings are also part of your network. And they’re far from the only ones. Think back to your studies! Your teachers or former classmates can be excellent allies. They can give you a lot, even if they’ve chosen a different path from yours.
Last but not least, social networks have revolutionized networking. LinkedIn, for example, puts you in touch with people you know and others you’d like to discover. You can often meet up with former colleagues or invite them over for a coffee to discuss career opportunities. But don’t let the virtual aspect overshadow the importance of physical relationships!
Developing your professional network won’t be very complicated, especially if you have an idea of your personal and professional circle.
Why develop your professional network?
Professional networking may seem boring and time-consuming, but its value cannot be overestimated. If you’re looking for reasons to invest time and energy in networking, here are some of the main reasons why a good professional network is essential to your business, your job and your continuing education.
Access professional opportunities:
One of the most obvious benefits of developing a strong professional network is access to business opportunities. You can be informed of a vacancy before anyone else, be co-opted or recommended for a position. What’s more, you’ll be able to find out which companies are hiring, and benefit from the hidden job market.
Keep up to date with the latest news:
Another advantage of being part of a professional network is that you can easily keep up to date with information concerning your sector, region or profession. You’ll be able to find out about additional job opportunities and what employers are looking for. What’s more, we’ll keep you up to date with the latest trends in your field, interesting upcoming training courses and not-to-be-missed events.
Support and advice:
Networking isn’t just about professional benefits. You’ll also be able to get advice on job applications, ask questions about your career direction and benefit from expert problem-solving advice from your peers. This community will enable you to exchange experiences and skills, meet new people and stay motivated.
A professional network will give you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge, by sharing and exchanging documentation and experiences with other members of your group, get advice on the latest technologies, and get recommendations on the right training to follow. This will enable you to take part in a continuous training process and keep up to date with the latest trends in your industry.
In short, if you want to develop your business, your career or simply keep abreast of what’s going on in your sector, networking is essential. Participating in professional events, joining clubs or associations, using social networks and asking for referrals are all ways of developing your network. Don’t forget that your network needs regular maintenance. So check in regularly, share your experiences and make yourself available to other members.
How do you develop your professional network?
Now that you understand the importance of developing your professional network, you may be wondering how to go about it? Here are a few tips to help you expand your network:
Participate in professional events
It’s a highly effective way of meeting people working in your industry or in companies you’ve targeted. Conferences, trade shows, seminars… are all great opportunities to exchange ideas with professionals in your field. Talk about yourself and your work, and show your interest in others. Don’t forget to take or give out business cards.
Joining professional clubs and associations
There’s bound to be a professional association or club in your sector. It’s an opportunity to collaborate with people who share your interests. Activities are generally varied, and you’ll have the opportunity to take part in cultural, sporting or charitable events related to your sector of activity.
Using social networks
LinkedIn is the must-have social network for professionals! It’s the favorite pastry of headhunters. By creating an optimized and regularly updated profile, you can easily be spotted by recruiters. You can also follow discussion groups and comment or post relevant information. Twitter and Facebook can help you get to know the people you want to get in touch with. You can also keep up to date with the latest news in your sector, or hear from influential professionals.
Ask for recommendations
Marketing manager in a premium boutique? Ask your satisfied customer to testify on your behalf. Positive comments on your LinkedIn profile, references on your website or recommendations from former colleagues are real assets.
In short, developing your professional network is up to you and your commitment. Investing the time and energy to meet new people and expand your network can open many doors for your career. And don’t forget to always be courteous, professional and kind to others, as this will help you build strong, lasting relationships.
Maintain your professional network
One of the keys to a well-functioning professional network is regular maintenance. Keeping in touch with members, sharing experience and skills, and being available to other members are all actions that can help keep your network alive and kicking.
Networking is not only in the interest of your career, it can also be personally enriching. You can meet fascinating people with whom you share common passions and interests. Maintaining a friendly relationship with those you meet is essential to creating lasting and fruitful links in your network.
Sharing knowledge and experience is another important aspect of maintaining a professional network. Members can help, coach and advise each other at different stages of their careers. Regular interaction also encourages the creation of new professional opportunities.
In addition, attending joint professional events or participating in activities that reflect your network’s interests can be an excellent way of maintaining professional or even friendly relations with these members. Contributing to professional projects in which your members are involved can also help strengthen your relationship.
Finally, being available to other members is also a way of maintaining your professional network. By making yourself available and helping members of your network, you show that you’re ready to make a contribution. So when you need them, you can count on them too.
In short, developing a professional network is one of the most important pillars of professional and personal success. It’s an ongoing process that requires patience, effort and commitment. By regularly nurturing your network, you can build strong ties with like-minded members who can help you achieve your professional and personal goals.
In conclusion, developing a professional network can have significant benefits, far beyond getting a job. Reasons include access to professional opportunities, keeping up to date with industry news, getting advice from peers, and staying innovative. To effectively develop a professional network, it’s important to take part in professional events, join clubs and associations, use social networks, and ask for referrals. Maintaining your network is also essential, and can be achieved through actions such as checking in regularly, sharing your experience and skills, being available to other members, and attending professional events. Ultimately, a well-developed professional network can offer a valuable source of support and advice, to help navigate professional challenges and stay competitive in the ever-changing world of work.