Strategically select a mentor
For many, mentorship could be the key to gaining a foothold in their career or personal life. With the connectivity we enjoy today, a mentor-mentee relationship could easily start out through a digital connection. While a mentor could be a university alma mater, or a senior at your current workplace or professional organisation, you can also leverage these connections to match you with potential mentors in their network. Before reaching out, spend some time researching and planning who could be your best mentor at the current stage of your career. Be sure to find one that aligns with your interests, needs and personality.
Connect with “weak ties”
Research has shown that while we rely on our “strong ties” in our everyday lives, it is our “weak ties” (also called an “open network”) that help us make significant leaps forward when finding new roles. As weak ties are farther removed, they are more likely to offer opportunities that we are not aware of. By identifying and reaching out to valuable connections that you are less familiar with, you can extend your open network dramatically.
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Join social groups at work
If the only time you interact with colleagues is on projects and conference calls in meetings, it’s going to be hard to build friendships. Instead, carve out opportunities to build friendships at work by joining social groups and actively participating in them. In today’s hybrid work or remote work context, social activities can take the form of virtual happy hours, Facebook groups for members with similar hobbies, or WhatsApp/Telegram chat groups for sharing more about one another’s lives and common interests.
Use reconnection as networking
Networking doesn’t always have to take place with people you don’t know. In fact, networking is often more powerful when it’s cumulative, and not just a one-off encounter or message. Some ways to reconnect virtually with former colleagues or schoolmates include sending notes of appreciation, congratulations on work anniversaries and life milestones, or commenting on their social posts. These simple gestures can be an effective way to spark new conversations with former connections.
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Start writing on a blog or LinkedIn article
One of the most effective ways to build a network beyond your immediate contacts is to start a professional blog on a topic of your expertise. Not only is it a great way to show thought leadership, it can also be a good avenue to get comments and feedback from new connections. Here are tips on how to launch a blog and grow your following.
Networking online can be less overwhelming when you break down the steps needed to reach your end goal into smaller, individual parts of a routine. If you start by implementing the above tips one by one, and you’ll be able to build on the momentum to accelerate the size of your network.
This article is contributed by Manpower Singapore.