Get Connected: A Young Person’s Guide To Local Networking
by Alicia Lawrence, WebpageFX “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” That saying is very, very true, especially for young professionals. In any industry, it’s important to have business contacts, on which you can develop highly useful relationships. Why? It doesn’t matter what field you’re breaking into, everyone is in the people business. Your need to network doesn’t end with college. In fact, that’s when it truly begins.
Why Networking Is So Important.Markets depend on diversity to move forward. For instance, if everyone were a graphic designer –then no one would come up with well-written content. If everyone were a computer programmer –then there would be an unfilled demand for accountants. While this seems like a painfully obvious truth, the message is simple: the market needs a vast array of skills in order to move forward. Networking is essentially the oil in the gears of the market, and through being able to do it effectively, you have a much higher chance of getting to the places you want to go in your career. Essentially, adding networking to your repertoire of skills will provide you with a way to maximize your earning potential, harness your abilities and provide the most value to your industry. It is actually more crucial for young professionals to get good at networking, because even if you’re the best computer programmer in your field –it matters very little if nobody knows about you. Without the ability to network effectively, you might as well wave goodbye to fantastic opportunities that might be right in front of you. But if you’re a networking wiz… then even if you’re not the best, you can still find yourself in the best jobs or snagging the best clients.
Chasing Dreams: 2 Essential Networking Tools That Could Fast Track Your Career.There are some industries that have their own network utilities already in place. For instance, the real estate industry often has well known methods and means for people to find each other quite easily. Simply, real estate is one business that depends almost totally on networking, which is why training and coaching programs are like gold to new real estate agents; they provide ample opportunities to meet and greet people who already have experience in the business. However, not every industry has those kinds of networking utilities available. Which is why we’re very fortunate to live in our bright age of opportunity, made possible through social media.
#1: LinkedIn.As a young pro, you absolutely, positively need to have an updated and relevant profile on LinkedIn. This is one of those social media no-brainers, simply because that’s where the opportunities are popping up these days. LinkedIn is basically the ‘Facebook’ of the professional world, and instead of your profile being loaded with memes and selfies –it’s basically your resume. In addition, LinkedIn offers a way to get connected with other professionals you might already know. This social networking utility even posts open positions and also allows you to ‘congratulate’ friends and associates who are advancing up the ladder. However, one of the most beautiful networking features from the site is their ‘LinkedIn Events’. If someone were to setup an event in your area, and you RSVP –then all of your associates and contacts will see that update in their newsfeeds, meaning that your networking efforts have already gone viral. All that’s left to do is to go to the event, and bask in the world of endless possibilities, because you’re in common and useful company.
#2: Meetup.It is said that Meetup has become so big over the years, that it’s even influenced the outcomes of political elections. Meetup.com is basically a place where likeminded people can gather for events, whether they’re a group that likes walking dogs, taking hikes or attending classes on unlocking your inner spiritual being through yoga. But what makes Meetup useful for your networking purposes is the fact that they almost always have a young professionals group in just about every city in the US. When the Meetup group event is setup, not only will you get the chance to RSVP –but you can even post questions and comments in the event page, which can be seen by every member in the group (depending on each person’s email settings). Great things have happened as a result of Meetup groups, so this is one social networking utility you should not overlook.
Your Career Depends On Your Network.Again, every business is the people business, so with this in mind… becoming good at networking is an invaluable skill that simply will take you places. When everyone can capitalize on the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of each other, then everyone can move forward and prosper. This is what networking is all about, and the tools above are essential in doing it effectively. Why chase your dreams alone? A little company can take you a long way. Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by the Hot in Social Media, Yahoo! Small Business, and PR Daily. Find Alicia on Google+.
This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.