There’s some truth to the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” However, if you use some of the strategies below, you can ensure that you will know all the right people to take your career to the next level.
Prune and grow your social media
If you’re looking for employment, click through your public-facing social media sites and try to see them through the eyes of your future boss. Take down—or add privacy filters to—any pictures or posts that don’t show you as a model employee. At the same time, be sure to add positive content, like photos of a volunteer project or accomplishments that you achieved at your last job.
Not into social media yet? Consider adding creating a LinkedIn profile. It’s free and can help connect you with other professionals. Also consider searching for websites and forums specific to your career and becoming an active participant. You can learn more about building the right online image here, and check out this post for more on networking with social media.
Become ’business social’
Search for local groups that match your interests or career aspirations, as well as general networking groups. The site www.meetup.com is a great place to get started. Many fields also have their own professional groups with local chapters that you can join. Finally, some communities will host free webinars, luncheons or workshops that are great places to meet people in a certain field while also learning valuable information.
Share your plan
Once you have an idea of where you’re headed, tell your dreams and goals to whomever will listen. You never know when a friend, neighbor or grocery cashier knows the right person to advance your career! Develop a very short pitch that explains your goals and talents and share it. Not sure what to say? Check out this GoodProspects article for ideas of what to include.
It may sound crazy, but if you can’t find an entry-level position in the career you want, you may need to do a little work for free. This is especially useful for young adults who have learned valuable skills in school but lack real-world experience. Many organizations welcome skilled volunteers. In a short time, you will have gained valuable new experiences and skills to add to your résumé, as well as a list of professional references and contacts for networking. This post includes more information on volunteering to build your career.