How to Start a Professional Network


Caleb Buford, Messenger Reporter & Business Manager

Professional networking is, put simply, a way of connecting with people who you contact in a professional manner. This network includes past co-workers, managers, and even bosses who you have a good relationship with. If you are reading this article and haven’t started a professional network, you need to start today. I say this with importance because it’s never too early to begin and this will be network you can use as you start becoming full-time in the workforce.
These relationships are not like your usual friends because you connect with them in a professional atmosphere. These are the people who can put in a good word for you with a new possible employer or even to new professional contacts. With that in mind, how can you start your own professional network?
When you go to work, find time to talk to your coworkers. This is a great place to start your professional networking. You already work with them, why not start by making connections there? Get to know your co-workers a little and maybe trade information such as email or phone number. You just made your first professional connections!
When you make a professional contact, you will want to stay in touch with them. To maintain contact, consider sending them an email or asking them about how their career or school is going. Maybe, if you feel comfortable enough, offer help. If you don’t stay connected with your contacts, they won’t know enough about you when a potential employer calls. A great way to stay connected is by using professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking platform similar to Facebook but meant for professional use. There, you can “create connections” with the people you know, almost like becoming Facebook Friends.
One thought that might cross your mind is, “I work in a fast food restaurant” or “I work in sales at the mall, no one at work technically has a professional career.” Correct, but, usually, most of them would have the same aspirations that you have, a hope of having more job security in the future. You might run into them in 15 years and learn that they are the CEO of their own company or a famous celebrity. It’s kind of like that old phrase, don’t judge a book by its cover because you never know what’s inside. It might just be a bestseller on The New York Time’s list.
So, in conclusion, start your professional network as soon as you possibly can. My tip would be to do it as soon as you have time with your coworkers. You might just need those connections down the road.