“There’s a real awkwardness that women experience in translating personal relationships into professional ones,” says workplace consultant Deborah Epstein Henry. Networking may be the ultimate key to your success, however, so stop the hand wringing and get on with it. One huge tool in your portfolio: LinkedIn.
Check in regularly
Hiring managers are 10 times as likely to visit your LinkedIn profile if you share something at least once a week. When you see an industry-related item that you’re interested in, add a sentence of thoughtful commentary, then post it. “One concern managers will have about your coming back into the workplace is that you won’t be up to date,” says Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert. “You need to indicate that you know what’s going on.”
Maintain your connections
Your connections on LinkedIn are virtually useless if you never reach out to them. Williams suggests scanning your LinkedIn news feed each morning to see what everyone is up to. An acquaintance got promoted? Send her a congratulatory note. Or endorse colleagues with whom you’ve worked directly. “It’s keeping yourself in front of people,” Williams says.
LinkedIn isn’t only about connecting to individuals; you can also “follow” specific firms and see who’s coming in and who’s departing. If there’s a big hiring push, you’ll notice it. And don’t forget to also follow a company’s competitors.
Include volunteer experience
If you’re doing anything, even unpaid, that enhances or displays your professional talents, put it on your profile. Are you fund raising for a nonprofit? Did you design a website? Did you do someone’s taxes as a favor? Add it.
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