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How to build a professional network

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Robert Galbraith/Reuters/File

(Read caption) The logo for LinkedIn Corporation is pictured in Mountain View, California. Hamm explains the importance of good connections and how to foster them.

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I am a huge believer in the value of professional networks. Over and over again during my career years, I saw the value of having positive professional relationships with people both in your organization and in other organizations.

Strong relationships can help you survive layoffs. They can help you have a leg up when it comes to promotions. They can make it very easy to bounce back from a job loss. They can even open you up to unexpected opportunities, like freelancing.

I consider a professional network to be a valuable tool for almost every person currently in the workforce. Computer programmers. Mechanics. Middle managers. Even entry-level service workers can find value here. 

Here’s the catch, though: it’s really easy to talk about how great it is to have a professional network, but how does one get started? 

I’m going to list the things I did when I got started in my previous career. When I left, I felt as though I had avery strong professional network that actually spread across multiple continents. I actually had multiple job offers to return to my field after I walked away (which I turned down, because my reason for walking away wasn’t really related to dissatisfaction with my previous job).

It’s worth noting that some of these things work best in a college setting, while others work best when you’re already in the workplace. Pick and choose from this list based on your exact situation.

Let’s get started.


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