Try These 7 Tips for Building a Personal Network
Networking leads to great opportunities. If you’re looking to climb the ladder, switch careers, or make connections to grow your current career, networking will play a large role. Often it’s not about the experience or schooling you have, but rather who you know.
You don’t have to be a schmoozer or the life of the party to build a personal network. Here are seven tips to help you build your network without becoming someone you aren’t.

Try These 7 Tips for Building a Personal Network

1. Start with Social Media
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful ways to build your network in today’s digital world. Start by optimizing your profile. You’re probably thinking, “what the heck does it mean to optimize yourself?”
Start with a good picture. Try to make it as professional as possible or at least give off the vibe you want other people to get from you.
So on LinkedIn, they give you a ranking, from good to great to all-star. All-star is your goal. For example, Anna Runyan (our CEO here at CCG) is an all-star rank on LinkedIn. How do you get to all-star, you’re probably wondering? Well….
Once you’ve created a great profile, make sure people know who you are (but don’t avenge your enemy and scream “soon everyone will know my name!!!!” It will scare them). Make your LinkedIn headline stand out and grab attention. Then, fill in all your past and current work experience (like a resume) and start connecting with people. 500 connections are when you will become a true all-star. You can connect with old classmates, co-workers, and many others on LinkedIn.
Of course, you can use Facebook and other social media sites to help build your network. However, LinkedIn is the most professional and preferred when it comes to the business world.

2. Focus on People That Fit With Your Goals

It doesn’t make sense to network with doctors when you’re a librarian. Of course, you shouldn’t exclude anybody from your personal network, but you want to add people that might help you get to where you are going. You should also focus on people you can help, too.
When you build a personal network full of people you can help and who can help you, it creates win/win situations. These situations only strengthen the relationship and make it easier to reach your goals.

3. Give First

When networking, you should always be willing to give before you receive. This will help you to build support from your network and they will be grateful for your help. It’s easier to return the favor when you’ve been helped by someone in the past.
Be careful with how you approach old connections after a long time if you have a favor to ask. Unconvincing attempts to butter people up before asking for something will put them off and irritate them.

4. Reconnect Often

If you don’t reconnect with those in your personal network, they may feel like you’ve used them. Make sure you reconnect when the opportunity arises. It’s easy to reconnect by sending birthday cards, holiday cards, a quick message on LinkedIn, Facebook etc. or shooting someone a text if you haven’t talked to them in a while.
[RELATED: How to Double Your Network in Four Weeks]

5. Use Meetup.com and EventBrite.com

The right resources can really help you build your personal network. Meetup.com and EventBrite.com will show you events and groups in your area you can get involved in. The best part is that these events and groups are all geared toward common interests!

6. Connect Others

You don’t have to be the one connecting for business reasons with everybody in your personal network. Instead, you can introduce one person you know to someone else you know if you think they could benefit from each other. As a connector, you are building rapport with two or more people at a time, which is great for building your personal network.

7. Start a Networking Group

While you can easily join networking groups on Meetup.com or Facebook or other sites, you can also create your own. If you can’t find the right group for you, maybe creating a new one is the right way to go. Then, when others join, you’ll be the one in charge and they’ll turn to you for help, which gives you someone you can turn to for help when you need it.
Building a personal network will help you in so many ways! It can be a great way to find the right people when you want to move from one career to another or just to further your current career. You never know where a personal relationship will go in the long run.

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