When it comes to advancing your career, it is often who you know that can make all the difference. However, many IT pros neglect networking because it can be overwhelming, time-consuming and often feels like a lot of work for little return. Investing in networking can pay dividends for your career if you take the right approach.
Yes, You Have to Get off Your Couch
With the rise of social networking, many people have stopped engaging in face-to-face networking as often as they used to, but it is still the most effective strategy for building new connections. The tech community is robust – even in smaller cities, and it is relatively easy to locate meetups and meetings where you can meet new people in the industry.
Conferences, seminars, hack-a-thons and other events are also great ways to network in a low-pressure environment. Everyone attending the event is there for the same reason, and they welcome the opportunity to meet other pros with the same interests. However you network, make sure to follow up with all your connections after the event is over.
Network on Social Media
Many tech pros are much more comfortable with social networking, which is great because social media is a terrific platform for meeting new people and building your sphere of influence. Begin with LinkedIn, as it is designed specifically for professional networking. Make sure your profile is updated and complete, and join tech groups related to your niche. Whenever possible, contribute thoughtfully to the discussions in your LinkedIn groups and try to add at least one new connection per week.
Other platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be valuable, but you have to be able to cut through some noise. Tech platforms and message boards can also help you build connections if you work them the right way. The key to success with social networking is to find the mix of platforms that work for you and spend time there regularly.
Partner with a Tech Recruiter
Networking is a marathon, not a sprint, and it is important to build your network so you can leverage your connections when seeking out new career opportunities. However, it is the time and energy that deter many people from engaging in networking.
If you are looking for a new tech job today, you need other tools in your toolbox. Partnering with a professional tech recruiter can be a great way to open doors. Recruiters have deep roots in the industry and they can give you immediate access to their own network, connecting you with opportunities you wouldn’t find if you were searching on your own.