Everyone knows that networking is an essential part of a job search or career. You make contacts through LinkedIn, meet people at conferences, reach out to alumni of your school, and find numerous other ways to build your network of connections. Once you’ve established this group, how are you staying engaged with them?
An easy, yet incredibly effective way to develop your network is to give back. Your professional network can’t be a one way street- you need to show appreciation in one way or another so that it’s a mutually beneficial connection. Take a look at these simple ways that you can return the favor to individuals in your network, which will only help you as you develop your career.
Engage on social media
One of the easiest ways to show your connections appreciation is to engage with them through various social media platforms. You’re probably connected with them on at least one or more social network, so it’s important to take that social aspect to heart. If they post an intriguing question, leave a comment with a thoughtful answer. If they write a blog post, like their content or mention them in a status update. You need to create these moments of conversation so that they recognize you as an integral member of their own network.
Offer your expertise
When building your network, it’s also important to find the ways that you can share your knowledge and expertise in certain areas. If one of your contacts is writing an article or post, offer your contribution in the form of a quote or helpful tip. Are they sending out a survey and need participants? Take those few minutes to fill out the information. You never know when you may need their advice or help as well one day.
Write a recommendation or review
In the same aspect as offering your expertise, another way to give back is through recognition. You can write a recommendation for their LinkedIn profile or endorse their skills listed there. If they’ve created a product or app, you can write a review online. You could also write a review for their company on Yelp or Glassdoor. There are a number of different ways to show appreciation, and it’s a great way for them to return the favor for you.
Give a referral
Do you have people in your network that may benefit from connecting or meeting? If you know someone looking for a job and someone who is hiring, make that connection on LinkedIn. Know someone who needs help with a project they’re working on? Refer one of your connections who is knowledgeable in that area. Setting up or giving referrals is another way to not only give back to those in your network, but to also continue to build out your own.
Did one of your connections start a new job, receive a promotion, get an award, or speak at an event? An effortless way to show your recognition is to tell them congratulations! Write them a quick email, mention them on social media, give them a call, or even send them a congratulatory card. This way you’re showing them that you’ve recognized their recent accomplishment and want to show gratitude for it.
Check in every now and then
It’s easy to lose track of your connections, especially if you’ve been building and expanding your network for some time now. Sometimes the easiest way to create conversation with individuals in a professional network is to simply check in with them. Send a quick message through social media or email to see how they’re doing or what they’ve been up to recently. Starting this conversation will show that you care about this connection.
Don’t just keep it online
When establishing your network, it’s important to try and not just keep it online. Try to either set up a call or an in-person meetup so you can build that connection further. You could grab a coffee, meet for lunch, visit their office, or plan to connect at an upcoming event. Making those face-to-face connections will only continue to establish the relationship that benefits each of you.
As you continue to add people to your professional network, you need to find the ways to stay engaged with them. By showing these types of appreciation, you will not only be more recognized in your own network, but will also be able to maintain truly valuable relationships throughout your career.
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