You have successfully established a professional network of contacts and you want to start forging stronger relationships with these important contacts and begin actively seeking out opportunities. What can you do to make these efforts more productive? The answer can be self-promotion.
Self-promoting means you are being proactive with marketing your capabilities and skills. You are taking the initiative to advance professional relationships to a new level by exposing your expertise and skills. The more your contacts are aware of what you are looking for and are skilled at, the easier it is for each contact to help you now and in the future.
So, what specifically can you do to effectively self-promote your expertise, capabilities and skills?
- Let people know you need help and be clear about what type of job you seek. Most people want to be helpful, but in order for them to help they need to know what the problem is and what you are looking for. Simply reconnecting with your contacts and informing them you are seeking job opportunities in a certain area and want to see if they happen to know of people you can connect with initiates the direct marketing. You may be surprise by how easy such a quick e-mail can result in several new connections or leads to job opportunities.
- Develop a blog and/or Web site on a topic related to your professional interest. A blog can help showcase your expertise on a certain topic and create a following of contacts who also share similar interests. A Web site is also a valuable tool that may be used as a portfolio of your work. With the URLs in hand, you may direct your contacts to navigate to your blog and Web site by simply including it to your social network profile. These tools help reiterate to your contacts your expertise and field of interest. It also makes it easier for your contacts to share your expertise with their relevant contacts.
- Share your opinion on related questions or discussion boards. Whether it is questions posed by a contact on a social network site or directly on a discussion board share your insight and opinion on the matter where appropriate. There are followers of specific topics and putting your two cents out there frequently, over time, will increase recognition of your profile as someone with expertise and quality advice. This is how many professional relationships in the virtual world are created and nurtured.
Self-promotion and networking go hand-in-hand.
For your professional network to be of value you need to forge stronger relationships. To forge stronger relationship, your contacts need to know where you have talent and where you seek opportunities. At the same time, the more a contact knows about you the more at ease everyone will be with communication.