It goes without saying that a professional network is a vital component to a successful career. At its fullest, a well-bred network can lead us to a better and more satisfying life. Hence, it is crucial that we know how to grow and how to mantain our network.
But alas… this can be a frighteningly complex task, for the network itself could easily grow so much that it would begin draining from us too much time and resources. It would become too demanding.
Hence, not only do we need to learn how to cultivate and how to mantain a professional network: we need to learn how to do this in a scalable way, too. We want to be using a more-or-less constant amount of time (which is too much of a scarce resource) no matter how large our network could grow.
First tip: Get social
Social platforms are becoming a primary infrastructure of our lives. They could be used as a precious tool to mantain our network, too — not just by publishing or updating our online résumé. Being connected to our network by sharing things, knowledge and projects, and by keeping in touch with others’ projects too (and occasionally getting them to know it), could be a powerful way to create engagement.
Second tip: Share
Let our network constantly know of us. Let us share with our peers our professional life, our writings, thoughts, personal achievements.
This point, however, is tricky; the balance between presence and advertising (or worse, spamming) could be rather tiny. We certainly don’t want to flood our network with useless, foolish or down-to-earth stupid content; we don’t want to get annoying. On the contrary, we must give our peers high quality and targeted contents.
And we need to do this in subtle, sofisticate ways. It is a career and professional thing, of course; and work itself can be a powerful tool to vehicolate our unique way of living and to create engagement.
On the other hand, and beyond those things strictly belonging to our field of industry, there are our passions. Be it sporting, photograpy, fishing, travelling or just writing our nugae, let our network know them. Let our passion enrich life of others; and let sharing them with others enrich ours. Again, a sagely distilled amount of balance is mandatory.
Third tip: Feedback is our most precious asset
We need a professional network for our professional life to flourish. And we need feedback from our network for ourselves to thrive.
Indeed, the feedback from our peers can be the most precious thing we can get from them. It can be enlightening both for our understanding of the inner mechanicals of the network itself, and for our understanding of our own lives.
Fourth tip: Live it through
Let us live through our network. This is the single most important tip of ’em all!
Online tools can be a boost-up, but they are no replacement for real interaction. Let us spend a little time with our peers, let us go out with them, sometimes even let us travel to see them.
This latter piece of advice may seem to contradict our previous tenet about not devoting exceedingly many resources to our network. But, a few (and accurately selected) times, a healthy degree of commitment could certainly be worth the while!