Reconnect with your professional network

Professional networking is key to career development, but there are only so many hours in the day you can devote to it. Ideally, you’d keep in regular contact with your entire network so that your connections are on tap when you need them for, say, a reference or a job lead. But, alas, we’re all human, and things can get in the way of our even best laid plans.

“Keeping in touch with professionals in your sphere is a great thing to do, but more urgent tasks, like a pressing deadline, often take precedent,” says Devora Zack, CEO of Only Connect Consulting and author of Networking for People Who Hate Networking. “A lot of times, staying connected with people falls to the bottom of your to-do list.”

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5 networking tips for blue-collar workers

If you’re a blue-collar worker, blue-collar-workeryou might think you can grow your career without relying on networking, simply because that type of thing isn’t typically associated with your industry. But being able to make connections, build relationships and leverage your contacts are critical components to career success, regardless of what duties your job entails.

“When you’re a passive job seeker, you’re being complacent,” which can hinder your ability to get promoted or recruited, says Laurie Grove, director of career services at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.

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Hate Networking? Try This

Does the thought of working Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 3.18.23 PMa room give you the jitters? Networking functions can turn even successful professionals into tongue-tied teens. Some people have such a visceral reaction that they actually feel physically dirty, a University of Toronto study found.

Yet industry events can also be a great place to rub shoulders with influencers, meet recruiters, pick up new skills, and raise your professional profile. So even if you hate schmoozing and small talk, these tricks can help you thrive at your next networking event.

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Tweet yourself to a new job

If you want to shine in a competitive twitter_jobs1workforce, take to Twitter. Nearly 95% of recruiters surveyed by software firm Jobvite used or planned to use social media to find and vet candidates last year.

“But you need a strong social media presence even if you aren’t job seeking,” says Rochester, N.Y., job coach Hannah Morgan, co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.

You can use Twitter to improve your visibility inside and outside your company, and connect yourself with influencers and hiring managers along the way. Whether you’re new to the platform or have tweets under your belt, there are steps to sharpen your networking skills.

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Work the (office party) room

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a friend 4-holiday-office-party_h528at the top of the corporate ladder? Mark your calendar for the office holiday party, your annual chance at cocktail chatter with company brass.

“Take advantage of being in the same room as your CEO or division director,” says Miriam Salpeter, co-author of 100 Conversations for Career Success. Making nice with key executives can help you gain visibility you can leverage later for new projects or even promotions.

Click here for tricks on how to make no-stress small talk with the big shots.