Professional networking is not just about creating an online account to use when talking to your colleagues or industry. It is networking in order to land a new gig or boost your career trajectory. In order to be successful, you must be professional in everything you do. First, start by building an online profile.

Let’s take Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram for example. Damn it, what about building your own blog??!! While growing your profile, ensure that you are careful and honest. Check your content for grammatical errors before posting it, and make sure that it is something that you want anyone & everyone to see. Once you put your profile on the internet, it will stay there forever.

Building a good profile is only the first step. Now that you have an online footprint, be sure to communicate in a clear, direct, and concise manner. Before hitting send, look back over what you have written. Is there something that seems out of place? Do you end with a clear point or call to action? Again, proofreading is key. If you send a message full of spelling errors, it will affect your reputation dramatically.

Also, if you’re job hunting, don’t simply ask for a job straight up. Wait until you have developed a relationship with the person you’re in touch with. Think about how you can add value to that person. Asking for a favour right away could very well hurt your chances.

Although the thought of networking can be intimidating at first, considering the plethora of options when it comes to sites, tools and methods, the best thing to do is jump right in. Scary? Maybe. Worth it? You bet.

That first call can be very hard to make, but once you do start forming connections, it gets much easier and can have a real impact on your confidence and overall career. Bring it all together by combining your online activity with your offline networking too.

If you already have an existing connection in real life, make sure you add them online. This will build your digital network, allowing you to expand your horizons by leveraging the networks of your contacts. Remember, however, that any relationships you began to form will take quite a while. If you are persistent and keep at it, you will eventually reap benefits that are well worth the patience!

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