4 Ways to Expand and Activate Your Network

Posted 6/27/2022 in Learn by Brittni Drury

Knowing how to activate your network of connections (both professional and personal) can have numerous career benefits. From mentorship opportunities to landing a new job, seeking support from your network is a key way to navigate the professional landscape. Knowing this, it’s not surprising that up to 85% of jobs are filled as a result of networking. With significant shifts occurring in the way we gather and make connections over the past two years, networking as we know it requires a little more creativity than it once did. 

Your personal network is expansive, whether you know it or not. Networking as a practice on its own can feel intimidating, so navigating how to grow your network might not seem like an easy task. Below are four tips to help you get started.

1. Look for mutual connections

LinkedIn doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it certainly is helpful when it comes to making new connections. Functioning first and foremost as a professional networking platform, knowing how to network on LinkedIn doesn’t require a formulaic approach. If there are specific moves you’re looking to make, say switching industries, mine your current connections for contacts they might have in the industry you’re looking to pivot into. Having a mutual connection make an intro, or mentioning that mutual connection, is a great way to reach out to new contacts and kick off a conversation.

2. Start Posting & Sharing

This isn’t just a LinkedIn tip (though it works there, too!). Regardless of what platform you’re utilizing for networking, having a voice and presence will serve you well. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and share your thoughts and expertise! Not only is this a great way to gain general exposure, but it also helps with building your personal brand. This allows you to showcase your knowledge, skill base, and also values. Keeping your posts public allows for broader sharing potential and you never know who you may end up in conversation with! Remember to be mindful of differing perspectives, but speak out on things that matter to you on a human level, too.

3. Lean Into Industry Groups

From Slack channels to Reddit threads and LinkedIn groups, there are virtual spaces to connect with other professionals in your industry (or desired industry). This list includes over 2,000 Slack channels accepting new members, many of which are based on industry or profession. Navigate these industry groups similarly to how you would structure sharing your own personal content. Look for ways to offer insight in various discussion threads and be careful of being overly self-promotional. Feel free to directly message someone about something they’ve posted, or with a piece of advice, they’ve expressed interest in publicly. These are great ways to build new connections in a meaningful way that go beyond personal benefit.

4. Ask for Referrals 

Ready to activate your network? While it might seem like an awkward conversation, reaching out to connections about new roles or referrals doesn’t have to be. Take a goal-oriented approach and share with your contacts what you’re hoping to accomplish. Being transparent about your goal– whether it’s focused on finding a new job, or pivoting careers– offers an opportunity for you to set the stage in a realistic way that addresses where you’re at, and where you’re hoping to go. Make a direct ask and share with your connections how you feel a referral or introduction could help you. 

Knowing how to grow your network might seem daunting at first, but with a surplus of available avenues and platforms to make it happen, it’s becoming easier than ever. Lean into your network for guidance, advice, and support when it comes to making your next career move– chances are you’ll be on the receiving end of such an ask at some point, too!

Help your network land their dream jobs! Sign-up to be a referrer today.