10 Networking Tips for Recently Established Professionals

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This post first appeared on Urban Cashmere, written by me. You can read more about that here!

Every college graduate is given the secret to obtaining a job: network, network, network! But not every graduate is given the tools or resources to network effectively, especially for those who just moved to a new city, altered career paths, or cannot use university connections or resources. The networking game isn't easy to play, but it is absolutely crucial for success. Here's ten networking tips for recently established professionals who need to boost their job search, whether that's to land your first job or to climb the professional ladder.

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1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is completely filled out and then use it. Yes, that means "rewriting" your resume once again, but the benefits outweigh the time investment. Instead of having to consolidate to a one-page snapshot of your skills and accomplishments, LinkedIn allows you to include every professional experience that may reflect what kind of worker you are AND to share a little bit of your personality. Once you've finalized your profile, be sure to spend some time on it weekly: add connections, follow companies, and endorse others. Your online activity will get you noticed. Many jobs are obtained through LinkedIn these days, so don't cut this out of your job searching strategy!

2. Utilize Twitter. I don't just mean updating your status daily (though sharing articles and commenting on industry topics are certainly helpful!), but I mean using Twitter to make connections and build knowledge about your industry's big names and topics. You'd be surprised at how many important career mavens in your local area use Twitter. Start by looking at your friends' lists of friends and then search for people in your city. Most importantly, read profile blurbs. Look for people whose profiles include some sort of professional explanation of themselves and links to blogs or websites. Follow them, visit their sites, and keep up with their tweets. Even if you don't network with these connections specifically, your future employers will be impressed because you keep up with industry names and events.

3. Compile evidence of your success. If you don't have a portfolio, whether virtual or tangible, invest the time into creating one. The act of picking and choosing your best work helps to prepare you for conversations with employers, friends, and family members AND you'll be ready for that last-minute interview. If you don't have evidence that best demonstrates a certain skill, ask a colleague, mentor, or professor for a reference letter that comments on these abilities.

4. Lock in specific job titles that you're looking for. For some people, this is an easy task, but for others (especially those who are changing careers or locations), this can be a challenge. Start by plugging in various key words in job search engines and evaluate the results. Compile a list of jobs you would consider applying to, make sure they reflect your current professional level, and note the titles. Narrow this list down to one or two titles. Why is this important for networking? Your friends, family, and connections will ask you what you're pursuing and stating you want "something in marketing" or "something that involves helping others" is not specific and does not give your connections something to work with.

5. Join a professional group (or two) and attend events. Ask your friends and family what organizations they are involved in, do a search in your city, and look up alumni opportunities. (Still stumped? Try Levo League.) Pick one or two that sound relevant for your industry and age group and then GO. Go with the attitude of meeting new people and building connections. Be genuine and interested in others--networking is most successful when it's organic and authentic.

To read the rest of the tips, click over to Urban Cashmere! Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you found to be helpful and if you have any more suggestions for our young professionals :)