Growing a Professional Network Online

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  • 0:04 Online Network Example
  • 0:59 People You Know
  • 2:22 People You Don't Know
  • 3:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Alexander von Sternberg
Having a robust professional network is key in advancing in your career, but how can you grow your network online? In this lesson, we'll look at how to use online platforms like LinkedIn to help you grow your professional network.

Online Network Example

Kiara wants to be a marketing executive, but for now she's just a marketing assistant. She's heard that building her online network can help her advance, but she's not sure how to do that.

An online network is simply a group of people in your industry that you are in contact with online. Most often, you build your online network via social media. For example, Kiara is on Twitter and LinkedIn, and the marketing professionals she's in contact with through those channels are part of her online network.

Your online network should be a part of your personal branding strategy. It can help you make contacts in your industry, keep up with the latest innovations and trends in your field, and advance your career. To help Kiara develop hers, let's look at how she can cultivate her online network with people she knows already and people she doesn't know yet.

People You Know

Kiara knows she needs to build her online network, but she feels a little overwhelmed. Where does she even start? It's often easiest to begin your online network by connecting through social media with people you already know. The focus should be on people in your industry, not old friends. For example, Kiara will want to reach out and connect on LinkedIn with coworkers and former coworkers, clients, and people she meets at conferences.

That's not to say that Kiara can't connect with anyone else. If one of her friends from high school reaches out and they aren't in the marketing industry, she can still accept their invitation to connect. But her energy and focus should be on sending out invitations and following people in her industry.

Each time Kiara meets with someone in a professional capacity, she can request to add them to her online network. For example, when she goes to a conference, she might meet several people who she wants to add to her network. She can then connect with them online and continue their professional relationship there.

One feature that LinkedIn provides is that of recommendations. Kiara can reach out to people she has worked for, including bosses and clients, and request that they write her a LinkedIn recommendation. This recommendation will show up on her online profile and signal to others in the industry that she's a good person to connect with.

People You Don't Know

Kiara, like most people, finds connecting online with people she already knows offline to be much easier and less intimidating than trying to connect with people she doesn't yet know. But growing her network online also includes getting in contact with others with whom she hasn't yet had contact. How should she go about that?

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