Developing Your Professional Network

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We know personal relationships with friends and family are of utmost importance, but are you underestimating the power of your professional relationships? What are you doing to cultivate and maintain them? It turns out that in the professional world, having connections certainly does help in more ways than one. Developing and maintaining a healthy professional network can effectively:
  • Enhance your interpersonal skills
  • Help you gain essential industry knowledge
  • Provide various avenues of career support and advice
  • Lead to future job or professional development opportunities
  • Foster relationships that may be beneficial to your career
Believe it or not, you might make a friend or two! Whether you’re a recent grad, young professional or current student, you can foster your network by following these actionable steps:

Use LinkedIn (like, really use it!)

Simply adding folks isn’t enough; actively engaging with new connections is key to nurturing authentic professional relationships online. Read an interesting article related to your field? Share it! Interested in learning new opinions and points of view related to certain subject? Ask away! Your connections will be impressed with your genuine enthusiasm and willingness to get out of your comfort zone and will likely join the conversation.

Scan your inner circle for opportunities—then expand.

Start building your professional network by utilizing your personal circle first! Friends and family, old classmates and coworkers—make an effort to become acquainted with their interests and goals and establish a friendly rapport, no matter their professional field. Once you have a relationship established, don’t hesitate to ask for introductions. Former supervisors, professors and counselors are amazing connections post-graduation as well; keep the lines of communication open as you progress in your education and begin your career!

Get in the mix.

If you still live on campus, you have a professional networking resource right at your fingertips—your career services center! Even if you have already graduated, it is a fantastic avenue to discover networking events, career fairs, mentors and job openings.

Give more than you take.

Ever know someone that demands your time and attention, but doesn’t seem to reciprocate? Or perhaps someone that only pops up out of the blue when they need something? Don’t be that person in the professional world. Relationships are two-sided, so offer support, listen more than you talk and always stay in touch. This will come in handy when you actually do ask for something – like a reference or resume review.
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Additional Career Resources

How to Dress for Success

How to Prepare for an Interview

You Received a Job Offer … Now What?

Questions to Ask During Job Interviews

After an Interview: Follow Up Best Practices

Conquering Job Applications

Crafting a Standout Cover Letter

Six Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Job Search

Writing Your Best Resume

Your Job Search: Strategies for Success

Developing Your Professional Network

How to Tell Your Story

How to Use LinkedIn Like a Pro

How to Conquer Career Fairs

This site includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. AgriNovus Indiana has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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