Two Businesswoman Having Handshake In Office

Building and maintaining a professional network is important no matter what your position or where you are in your career. Here are five tips for doing just that – building a network of professionals and maintaining your relationship with them.

Engage on social media channels. LinkedIn is one of the primary platforms for professional networking, and Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other popular channels tend to be more of a blend of professional and personal. Users can follow influencers, connect with colleagues and co-workers and share expertise. These social channels don’t replace face-to-face gatherings or phone calls with mentors, protégés or colleagues, but they allow you to engage with your network on a daily basis. The short-form “likes, shares and retweets” or brief comments can help maintain your network until you have time for a regular check-in.

Ask for introductions. Don’t be afraid to ask for people in your network to introduce you to others. For example, if you’re looking for a job and speaking to individuals in your professional network, don’t leave an engagement without asking if there’s someone they know who might have some good insight or advice for you, and ask for an introduction.

Look for ways to assist others. Don’t pass an opportunity to pay it forward. If you can help someone in your network find someone to fill an open position, share a new training program, or introduce them to a fantastic recruiter you’ve used in the past – do it! That’s what networking is all about – sometimes you give the assistance and sometimes you receive it.

Check in regularly. Any relationship requires effort and a time investment if it’s going to thrive. If you’re going to find ways to help others in their work or personal lives, you need to know what’s happening. Take the time to have regular calls or schedule a coffee date; bring back a lost art and send a handwritten note; or arrange a social gathering for a few members of your network.

Review your connections. A periodic review of your network can make you aware of individuals with new jobs or promotions. It also may identify a group of people you want to focus on for a while. Perhaps there’s a handful of people you know who have recently lost their jobs or entered retirement, or a group of colleagues who work for a company that’s recently been acquired. Those are big changes and can present opportunities for everyone.

So how should you get started? Start with us here at The Lee Group. Contact a Lee Group office near you – located in Newport News, Chesapeake and Richmond – and we’ll help you build that network.

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