Most of us build our professional networks over time and through the duration of our career. But what happens if you suddenly decide to change direction and move into a new or unfamiliar industry? Your network might most likely be turned upside down.
You can rest easy because it’s fully possible to build a new network from scratch. The question is how? Here are some tips to help you grow a wholly new network.
Join industry meetupsGet out there and mingle. Going to industry meetups is the easiest and fastest way to grow a new network. Find out where your industry hangs out - be it conferences, product launches, or casual networking events - and attend as many as possible. Most industry events will be designed to encourage interaction between attendees and industry leaders.
While it may take some initiative to go out and meet people from an entirely different industry, it’s definitely worth your while. Industry meet-ups are a great source of information and connections, including potential business partners.
Listen to podcastsPerhaps you haven’t heard yet - but podcasts are cool again. Over the last few years, there has been a surge in industry-related podcasts, ranging from marketing and finance to IT and logistics. These podcasts are hosted by business company owners and other industry leaders -- and often, feature news, interviews and real-life tips.
Besides being a great source of industry-related information, these podcasts often encourage participation from the listeners. So, if you do stand out, it’s a great way to get closer to industry bigwigs!
Join a work committeeYou may think that starting in a new industry is work enough - so, why join a committee? While organising industry-related events or creating a mentor programme for interns might not seem very high on your agenda, its benefits cannot be understated. Being part of an industry committee is a unique way to meet and build strong relationships with other like-minded people in your space. Showing that you are a team player and committed to your job will help to build a strong reputation. Committee work is ideal for shy people, as it's not an outright networking event and takes the pressure away from having to keep up small talk conversations.
Connect on social mediaWhen it comes to social media, the world is your oyster. With a variety of social media networks available, you just need to determine where your industry connects online. Professionals in every industry around the world look online for the answers to their questions. So, ask your questions, exchange industry news, and reach out to people that are relevant to you. Connecting online is also a great way to build relationships with people from beyond your local networking meet-up. While social media should be your first port of call to connect online, you should not discard forums and niche publications.