Being a professional is not just about getting a qualification. You must be able to utilize the skills that you gain to serve people, and more so, add value to their life. This also calls for you to develop your professional networks with other professionals in your field.
So, do you have a professional network?
Most people do not consider networking to be crucial in their journey of professional development. But just as you cannot grow without eating and sleeping well, so can you not develop professionally without connecting with other professionals in your field.
I will share with you some of the ways in which you can create and develop your professional network:
Professional meetups and conferences
Every year, professional conferences are organized by professional bodies that regulate professionals. Some of them are free, while others are premium-based.
You can attend such meetups and conferences, where you will meet professionals in your area, interact with them and start creating and developing your networks. You can get details of such meetups by following the professional body, on social media and/or their events website.
It is not always about work. Professionals also meet for social events, such as to give back to the community, to engage in competitions or just to have fun. A great place to discover such planned meetups is meetup.com.
Here you will get organized events which you can attend and meet and interact with other professionals. Also, the meetup.com platform is free to join and select to attend events. (Unless the event listed indicates that you need to pay to attend).
Joining professional groups on social media
In this social media era, accessibility has been so simplified that finding like-minded people is as simple as the click of a button. On Facebook, for example, you can find many groups of professionals, who discuss issues in their profession and also share ideas.
Given that joining Facebook is free, and also joining Facebook professional groups, you have no excuse for not expanding your professional network.
Joining a professional organization
Another way of developing your professional network is by joining a professional body, in your profession. These days, almost all professions have a registered body that regulates the profession. Although for some of them, membership is not free, you can get real value for your money if you utilize the opportunities that are created as a result of being a professional member.
Find professionals on LinkedIn
Linkedin is one of the best places where you can find professionals in your field. Here, you can connect with them and get to know a lot about your profession, thus expanding your knowledge as well as reach.
Contacting other professionals
Lastly, if you know professionals in the same field as you, you can contact them directly and request them to be part of your professional network. This may be a long shot, but still worth it, considering the benefits that you will get from developing your professional network.
Given that you need to stay ahead in your professional to be relevant in the market, then you need to develop your professional network and keep expanding it to stay on top of your game.