A strong network is a key building block for career success. Whether you’re looking for a new job or connecting with peers in your industry, building a strong set of connections to help advance your career is vital.
While older generations used to build their networks one handshake at a time, today’s networkers foster and maintain connections online through the use of social media tools.
Whether you’re a social media novice or aficionado, it is important to remember that unlike connections made through face-to-face contact, when building an online network, credibility is assessed via digital profiles.
“It’s essential for professionals to understand that digital tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter allow our professional and personal worlds to blend,” says Jason Seiden, co-founder of Ajax Social Media and a member of the Career Advisory Board, presented by DeVry University. “You must learn to bring the edges in and ensure your online profile exudes both elements effectively, without misrepresenting either.”
Building or revising your digital profile may seem daunting, but there are simple ways to bolster it to showcase what you have to offer, helping you connect to the right people more quickly.
For those feeling unsure where to begin, Seiden offers actionable advice for building a strong digital profile to position oneself for online networking success.
Build a profile that stands out.
Distinguish yourself by telling your story. Have your profile reflect more about who you
are and what you have learned rather than what you have done. Think of your profile as a mirror: instead of trying to sound professional, give yourself permission to reflect who you are.
If your reflection shows gaps relative to the demands of positions you are applying for, consider acquiring the skills or enrolling in degree programs needed to qualify. “DeVry University is a great choice for professionals interested in increasing their marketability because it offers flexible scheduling options, allowing students to take online courses, classes on campus or a combination of both,” says Seiden. “Having the ability to complete your education while balancing job and family commitments can ease stress as you create a blueprint for advancing your career.”
Build the well before you’re thirsty.
Even online, building a strong network takes time, effort and continual maintenance.
As you begin reaching out to industry contacts, don’t be too eager to connect. Be cognizant of who you are contacting and how they can help you as you advance your career.
While it’s easy to get caught up in your online networks, traditional relationships are still important. Seiden advises, “Take your relationships offline. Pick up the phone or meet face-to-face.” Simple tactics like these are the key to lasting, mutually beneficial connections. By fostering strong relationships ahead of time, you will have the confidence to reach out in the future to take your career to the next level.