5 Ways to Build Your Network, for Young Professionals
Graduation season is upon us, once again! We have lots of recent grads and young professionals ask us about what to do after graduation to find opportunities, and how they can be utilizing LinkedIn. Originally published last February, this post provides some great ideas on this very subject!
As a young professional and someone who has grown up in Baltimore, more affectionately referred to as “Small-timore” (because most days it feels like a small town), I’ve realized that it really is about who you know. My first job after college was the result of an introduction on LinkedIn and an internship.
“Hey, you know so and so, me too,” is pretty common in Baltimore (add some social media on top of that, phew, everyone knows everyone). When we recognize a mutual connection, we laugh and comment on how crazy it is. But for many of us, the conversation ends there. It is time to use our connections for some mutual benefit.
When building your network, be intentional. You want people in your network that you know. It would be easy to connect and build out my network with just about everyone in Baltimore and beyond, from high school and college, through sports over the years, and other jobs I have held, but I don’t want all of those people in my network. There are people who have huge networks, but for them, it’s quantity over quality, whereas the goal should be quality then quantity.
While it is all about who you know, it is also about who they know. While each connection in my network does not have to be someone I talk to regularly, I want there to be some name recognition so that if Jane were to ask to be introduced to one of my connections, I’m able to make that introduction. It would be a bit awkward if I introduced Jane to someone I didn’t know.
As a young professional, I may not know as many people as my colleagues, parents, friends’ parents, but that’s ok. The beauty of a network is the people in it and that there is always room for growth.
If you are just getting started on LinkedIn or looking for ways to garner more connections, I have you covered!
Here are five easy ways to begin building your network:
1. Connect with Alumni.
I graduated from Washington College, a small private liberal arts college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, that has a super strong alumni network in Baltimore. In seconds, I can go to LinkedIn and see who else graduated from WC and reach out to them. Additionally, I went to a rather large high school (yes, larger than my college) and I can do a quick search with the name of my high school in the School field in the Advanced Search area and see who else I might want to reach out to.
People you know through classes, activities, sports teams, greek life, etc. are great people to connect with. You probably don’t want Go to the full article.