The Power of Networking: Tips for Building a Strong Professional Network

//The Power of Networking: Tips for Building a Strong Professional Network

The Power of Networking: Tips for Building a Strong Professional Network


Networking can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

Let’s be real: the thought of networking is intimidating.

Approaching strangers, putting yourself out there, and trying to sell yourself can feel awkward and uncomfortable.

And when you’re just starting out in your career, it can be especially daunting.

You may feel like you don’t have anything to offer, or that you’re not important enough to be talking to the “bigwigs” in your industry.

But here’s the thing: networking doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be fun, rewarding, and a great way to boost your career.



There is a Golden Rule of networking, which will turn everything on its head for you (and make it way more enjoyable in the process). Read to the end of the article to find out what it is…


Building a strong professional network allows you to make valuable connections, learn from others in your field, and discover new opportunities. It deserves to be part of every ambitious young person’s success strategy.


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What is the importance of building a strong professional network?

Or in other words… “why the heck should I go to events, feel uncomfortable, and do things that make me want to foetal position in the corner of the room?”

Well, I imagine you wouldn’t be here unless you were at least a little ambitious to get ahead in your career.

Networking is a crucial part of professional success. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Career advancement: By building relationships with others in your industry, you’ll be more likely to hear about job opportunities and promotions.
  • Knowledge sharing: Networking can help you stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.
  • Collaboration: Building connections with others can lead to new partnerships and collaborations. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link; finding strong links to collaborate with through networking can be a game changer.
  • Personal growth: Networking can help you gain confidence, develop new skills, and learn from others’ experiences. Comfort, after all, is the enemy of achievement – get out of that comfort zone yo.


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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


A few tips and strategies for building a strong professional network

Whilst the prospect can be daunting, the actual bread and butter of the thing are incredibly simple.


Examine your existing network for gems

All right, perhaps Uncle Bill the accountant won’t be able to help you launch your first art exhibition personally…

….but his golfing friend might well have a gallery which is looking to promote young artists.

Your existing network may not seem that rich, but you never know who cousin Sally can connect you with.

We’ve designed a really helpful resource to help you with this. It’s free to download and is a great first step in getting your networking ball rolling. Follow the link and click on ‘Networking Top Tips’.


Attend industry events and conferences

This is a great way to meet people in your industry and learn from experts in your field.

There are a few different strategies you can use to find industry events and conferences:

  • Search online: Start by searching for keywords related to your industry and the type of event you’re looking for. For example, if you work in marketing, you could search for “marketing conferences” or “digital marketing events.” This should bring up a list of events that you can research and potentially attend.
  • Check industry associations: Many industries have associations or trade groups that organize events and conferences for their members. Check to see if there’s an association in your industry and look for upcoming events on their website.
  • Ask colleagues: If you have colleagues or contacts in your industry, ask them if they know of any upcoming events or conferences that might be relevant to you.

Remember, this works for industries you’re curious about cracking into as well.

If you think you might enjoy re-wilding, why not attend a few rewilding networking events to see if you vibe with the people?


Here are some links to help you get started:

  • Eventbrite: This website lists events and conferences in a variety of industries. You can search by keyword, location, and date.
  • Meetup: Meetup is a website that connects people with common interests, including professional interests. You can search for groups and events related to your industry and attend networking events:
  • Associations Unlimited: This database includes information on thousands of associations and trade groups, including information on their events and conferences:
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great resource for finding professional events and conferences. You can search for events in your industry and connect with other professionals attending the same event. (Yes LinkedIn editors, we are open for sponsorship).


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We’ve extolled the vast and varied benefits that come with volunteering before, and guess what, we’re going to do it again!

So what’s the big deal?

Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and build relationships in your field.

It builds expertise. It upskills you in soft and hard skills… It helps you narrow down what you love (and hate) doing… It boosts your mental health…It creates friendships…*pauses to catch breath*…just…just read this article.


Take advantage of informational interviews

“Um, I did interviews to find a job so I wouldn’t have to do more interviews, thank you very much” – Everyone ever.


Well said, everyone. But informal interviews are a different kettle of fish to your average sweaty, anxiety-inducing formal job interview.

Informal interviews can be initiated by either the job candidate or the employer and are often used as a way to learn more about each other before committing to a formal interview.

They can take place in a variety of settings, such as over coffee or lunch, or even via phone or video call.

Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a specific company or industry or just to make valuable connections.

Informal interviews are a type of job interview that is less structured and more casual than traditional formal interviews.

Instead of following a set of pre-planned questions and answers, informal interviews allow for more natural conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee.

The purpose of informal interviews is to build rapport and gain a better understanding of each other’s goals, values, and expectations. You may not even want the role, but gaining a connection in that industry is always helpful.


Some benefits of informal interviews include:

  • Building relationships with potential employers and contacts in your (or a prospective) industry
  • Gaining insight into the company’s hiring process and what they look for in candidates
  • Getting feedback and advice on your resume and interviewing skills

Overall, informal interviews can be a great way to network, gain industry insights, and increase your chances of landing your dream job.


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Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash


Follow up with contacts

This one is vital!

After meeting someone at an event or having a conversation, make sure to follow up with a personalized message or email.

This helps to keep the relationship alive and shows that you’re interested in maintaining the connection.

Here are some tips for effective follow-up:

  1. Send a personalized message: When following up, it’s important to personalize your message and reference the specific conversation or meeting you had with the contact. This shows that you value their time and input.
  2. Keep it brief: Your follow-up message should be concise and to the point. Avoid long paragraphs or going off-topic.
  3. Offer something of value: Whether it’s a helpful resource or an introduction to another contact, offering something of value can help keep the conversation going.
  4. Be timely: Don’t wait too long to follow up. Aim to send your message within 24-48 hours of your meeting or conversation.
  5. Use a mix of communication channels: Depending on your relationship with the contact, you may want to follow up via email, phone, or social media. Consider what method would be most appropriate for your message.


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Photo by Stephen Phillips – on Unsplash

Here are some examples of follow-up messages:

  • “Hi Beth, it was great meeting you at the conference last week. I wanted to follow up and thank you for sharing your insights on [topic]. I found it helpful and have already started implementing some of your suggestions. I hope we can stay in touch!”


  • “Dear James, it was great speaking with you on the phone yesterday. I wanted to follow up with some additional information on [topic]. I found this article that I thought you might find interesting [link]. Let me know if you have any questions!”


  • “Hey Linda, it was great catching up with you at the networking event last night. I really enjoyed hearing about your experience at [company]. I noticed on LinkedIn that you’re connected with [name], who I’ve been wanting to connect with. Would you be willing to make an introduction? Thanks again!”


In addition to these tips, it’s important to maintain regular communication with your contacts. Keep them updated on your career goals and successes, and offer support and help whenever you can.

Building and maintaining strong relationships takes time and effort, but it can pay off in the long run.

The Golen Nugget

You’ve made it to the end, and here is your reward. The secret to productive, enjoyable, and beneficial networking…


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Quality networking is about looking for opportunities to give rather than take.

What interests does the person have?

What industry are they in?

What could you provide them with that they’d appreciate?

That could be as simple as sending an article you think they would enjoy, flagging their attention to an event which is right up their street, sending over a LinkedIn connection they might find helpful, or introducing a candidate for a role they’re looking to fill.

During your talks, always be searching for things which later you can provide them with of use, interest, or fun.



Networking isn’t about using people for personal gain.

It’s about building genuine relationships with others in your field, and the best way to do this (and to stay in people’s minds) is by being a positive influence, not a taker.

By being authentic and building relationships based on mutual respect and shared interests, you can build a strong professional network that will serve you well throughout your career. The benefits of having a strong network are endless…


Forward Career Coaching specialises in helping young professionals fast-track their career success. If you’d like to explore how you can build your networks, or simply want to explore making your career work for you, why not get in touch for a free consultation?