Building A Professional Network
Last updated August 17, 2023
Whether you're searching for your first job or are starting to think about your career, having a strong professional network can go a long way. Your network can help you meet new people, make professional connections, explore career paths, and maybe even land a job or internship. Here are 5 tips for building your professional network!
Ask your existing network
You may not have realized it, but you already have a network! Your network can consist of anyone you’ve worked with in any capacity– like bosses, coworkers, members of clubs you were in, teammates, coaches, and trusted educators. They can speak highly of your skills, abilities, and experience, introduce you to new people, provide references for you when you apply to jobs, and more. When you’re ready to start your search for your next job or internship, be sure to check in with your existing network first. You never know what opportunities are out there!
Create a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is a free professional networking website that can help you find jobs and internships, meet new people, and keep in touch with your network. When you create a LinkedIn profile, you can learn about new opportunities in your area and build your network by connecting with people in jobs and industries you're interested in. LinkedIn also offers free online courses to help you gain new skills that are valuable in every career!
Join a group, club, or volunteer
One of the easiest ways to make new connections is to join a group or participate in a club– both in and outside of school. Not only will you learn new skills and find new passions that you can add to your resume, you’ll be able to meet new people, build new relationships, and expand your professional network.
Leave your comfort zone
While your friends and people who share similar interests to you can certainly be part of your network, every now and then it’s important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to meet new people! To leave your comfort zone, expand your network, and learn something new, we recommend reaching out to someone on LinkedIn who has a job you’re interested in or works for a company you’d like to learn more about. Ask if they would be willing to set up an informational interview to answer any questions you have about their job, company, or industry. Not only will informational interviews teach you about different careers and job paths, the person you conducted the interview with is now a part of your network! Ask them if you can connect with them on LinkedIn by following up with them after your interview. Be consistent and be patient
Networks are not built overnight! It takes time to build professional relationships with people, so be patient and consistent. You never know when you will need to reach out to your network for help, so keep in touch by reaching out a couple of times a year, even if it’s just to say hello.
Need some more support as you start to grow your network? Text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!Looking for a job? Sign up for our free first job resources!