Five ways to build a strong professional network

Professional networking is key to progressing in your career as it helps you stay connected with relevant peers, keep abreast of the latest developments in your sector and remain informed about the emerging opportunities. Brinda Sarkar gets experts to weigh in on how to build a strong professional network.
Make It A Habit
The trick is to make professional networking part of your daily regimen. “Add professional acquaintances daily, or even weekly. Networks are built over time, so make it a habit to stay connected with a diverse set of people,” says James Thomas, country manager, Kronos Systems India.
Practice Visibility
Responding to people on LinkedIn and commenting on others’ blogs or tweets will give you more visibility and help build your professional circle. “You need to keep this up on a regular basis and set time aside daily to do so. Participating in and contributing to these forums will enhance your knowledge and introduce you to people you may not know,” says SV Nathan, chief talent officer, Deloitte India.
Make A Personal Commitment
While there are several platforms that you can use for your professional network, nothing beats a human touch. “Pick the right platforms and stay consistent, but it is more important to stay personally connected and committed to building your network. Ensure you are not missing a sense of personalisation,” says Thomas.
Target Specific Communities
Professional networking is all about making yourself visible, says Karthik KS, CEO, Aeon Learning. “It is a good idea to target communities specific to your line of work. For instance, even within LinkedIn there are particular communities for different lines of work. Similarly, if you are a techie, you can join GitHub,” he says.
Use Events And Conferences
Events and conferences are very good for building strong professional networks. “You should use every professional and social opportunity to meet and connect with new people. Do make it a point to write back to people you have met and exchanged cards with, and be diligent about returning emails and phone calls,” says Nathan.

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