Looking for a job or internship opportunity is a difficult task to begin with, but it is even more difficult when you don’t have a network of people you can turn to for help in your search. You want to have a reliable network of people you can reach out to when looking for professional opportunities.
In today’s professional world, a majority of jobs are found through previously made connections. According to a study by Hubspot, “85% of jobs are filled through networking” and a good amount of opportunities aren’t even posted online, they are simply filled before posting due to networking.
Working on your connections can help you get where you want to be in your professional life, but you may have trouble knowing how to expand upon the connections you already have. How can you actually expand your network? We are here to help you meet new people and expand your network.
1. Get Comfortable with Linkedin🖥️
Whenever you are reaching out to someone in a professional manner, Linkedin is the way to go. You can manage and connect with your network while also looking for new people to get in contact with all in one place.
If you add a note on top of your invitation to connect, you can get in contact with just about anyone. I recommend adding anyone on Linkedin that you’ve had a conversation with, even if they aren’t in your field of interest; they just may be connected with someone in your field that you want to connect with.
Check out our article on Tips to Improve Your Linkedin Profile for ways to look more professional!
2. Start with the Network You Already Have 💼
Take a look at who you are already connected to in both the field you want to be in but also outside of that field. You never know who is connected with who and could help you land your dream job.
This is where Linkedin can come in handy. Looking at the Linkedins of your previously established connections can show you the companies they have worked with/ are connected with and the other people they are connected with.
If you find a company or a person through your already established connections, you automatically have an in with them. Also, having the ability to look through their work history can give you the conversation starter you need to connect with them!
3. Attend Networking Events 🎟️
Whether you’re more comfortable with networking in person or from the comfort of your own home, you can find networking events that you're comfortable with. These events allow you to meet people who are also interested in expanding their network so you don’t have to worry about them not being open to talking! You also get the chance to talk to people who can introduce you to new directions to go with your career that you may have never previously considered.
There are plenty of resources available to you to find these opportunities such as Eventbrite, where you can find networking events in essentially every field. You’re sure to find one that works well for your schedule. Make sure you show up to these events prepared to engage with new people with an elevator pitch!
4. Use Your College/ University 🏫
No matter if you’re still in school or have graduated a while ago, make use of your school’s alumni network. There’s no easier way to bond with a new individual in your field of choice than talking about your university; you already have something in common with them!
Most alumni are very open-minded about talking to and connecting with other alumni or current students so it’s a resource you should try to take advantage of. Even if they can’t get you connected with a job opportunity, they could give you insight into what their career looks like, giving you a better idea about where you want to go with your own career.
5. Reconnect ✨
Over time, it can be easy to lose contact with people who used to be in your network. Whether they are people you worked with, volunteered with, or even went to school with, don’t be afraid to reach back out to solidify the connection you used to have.
A simple Linkedin request/message reminding them of how you know each other, asking how they are, and why you’re reaching out to them is a perfect way to reconnect. You’d be surprised how open people are to reconnecting!
6. Be Sure to Maintain Contact 🌟
Make sure the connections you’re making are lasting ones! Keeping in touch will strengthen your connection and will make it easier to reach out in the future. It will also keep you in the back of their minds if they are to come across any opportunities that may be perfect for you.
It’s better to have fewer strong connections than a lot of connections that you aren’t able to use. An easy way to stay connected is by engaging with their posts on Linkedin or even sending them a message if you ever run across an article/opportunity they may be interested in.
Expanding your network is going to take some time! Don’t put pressure on yourself to make a bunch of connections overnight. Carefully think about what type of connections you want to make and choose selectively who you reach out to. Putting some time aside every week to focus on networking can help you immensely. Good luck! 🍀
If you’re searching for a resource to help you inform your career decisions, check out Forage, the go-to platform for career discovery, learning, and recruiting, straight from employers.
Author: Erica Burns, Forage Content Writing Intern
- Erica Burns is a senior at Temple University studying English and political science and is currently a Content Writer Intern with the Forage. She is passionate about writing, literature, and politics, specifically environmental and human rights.