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How to Create and Grow an Effective Network

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Growing and creating an expanding and effective network is one of the best ways to find new opportunities and people to work with.  Networking can be a great gateway to learning about different industries and niches, and can introduce you to people with similar ambitions and visions.  By networking effectively, you can create a group of people which you can go to and trust within different circles, and that will stick around in the long run.  Here are some of the best strategies to create new connections and achieve career success.

The first strategy is to use an app like LinkedIn.  The reason why LinkedIn is so great is that it allows you to connect with people you already have mutual connections with.  For example, your friend (who is already on LinkedIn) might know someone who works at a tech startup, and the app will recommend that person to you to connect with.  Then, once you connect with that person, it will give you access to their network and recommend a new person to connect with, and so on and so forth.  Each of these people are going to be involved in different niches and subfields, and it gives you a great platform for learning about new opportunities and creating useful connections.

The second aspect to keep in mind is to focus on picking the right people.  Going to a networking convention, meeting everyone, and hoping something works out isn’t a very effective strategy.  Instead, try to find people who will provide value for you and what you’re interested in so that you can make quality connections.  Hand in hand with the first aspect, make sure that you can provide value to the people you are connecting with as well.  No one wants a one-way relationship, especially in the realm of business, because they’ll feel like they’re being used and they won’t gain much out of it, leading to an ineffective network.

Another strategy to network effectively is by going to different types of volunteer events and joining different clubs.  This strategy is especially helpful for high school students.  Since a wide variety of clubs are available, it allows you to network and conversate with people in different niches.  In addition, clubs that have large state-level conferences such as DECA state conferences, or boards in which you can serve at the state level like Key Club, allow you to interact with students from areas other than your hometown, and in turn connect with them on LinkedIn and gain access to their network as well.

Scheduling monthly meetups are a way to develop a more personal relationship with the people you are networking with, and provide a casual way to discuss ideas and exchange information.  For example, if you’re part of a group that deals with organizing charities, set up a meeting to have lunch or go to a coffee shop, and discuss things within charity organizations, but also other circles that you guys are involved in individually.  Doing this will introduce you to other fields and new opportunities, and allow you to branch out even further and possibly start work in another niche.

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