According to a LinkedIn survey, up to 85 % of all job opportunities are discovered through networking. In other words, connecting with people you already know. Additionally, up to 70% of jobs aren’t posted on job sites, and 80% of jobs are found via personal connections.  Since maintaining your professional network can be such a powerful tool for finding the right position, not to mention building relationships, here are ten ways to nurture the connections you need to bolster your career right now.

1. Keep connections frequent and straightforward.

When a colleague earns a promotion or changes jobs, send them a quick congratulatory note. LinkedIn and similar social media tools make it easy to keep track of these changes and respond when they happen.

2. Be helpful.

When you run across information specific to a connection’s work or passions, send it to them. Often, others feel more willing to help us when we have a track record of helping them. Even though there might not be an opportunity available to you now, staying in touch with professional peers keeps you top of mind for future openings.

3. Get opinions.

We all like to feel our professional knowledge is valued. If you run into a problem, ask a colleague for their opinion. You’ve strengthened the connection and may gain valuable perspective as well. Plus, one discussion can turn into many.

Knowledge sharing can happen through conversation, volunteering, and more. Many companies welcome this approach to drive ideas, creativity, and productivity across business units. Speaking of knowledge sharing, check out our career development page to get even more tips on networking, job search strategies, and resume building.

4. Make introductions.

At professional events, introduce members of your network to one another. Often, both contacts will be grateful for the chance to expand their networks – and will remember you made it happen. Be sure to bring a business card too! If you don’t yet have one, visit sites like Vistaprint, where you can browse pre-existing designs.

5. Group up.

Joining professional organizations can help you expand your list of colleagues fast. It can also help you stand out as a member of others’ networks. Don’t know where to start? Check out your local chamber of commerce, reach out to alumni associations, or hop on over to Indeed.com for their professional association list.

6. Get together.

Meeting up with a colleague in person for coffee, lunch, a walk, or a similar short event helps you strengthen connections in ways that email can’t match. Set a goal to connect in person (outside of your work time), and soon you’ll be forming a reciprocal support system.

7. Put it on the schedule.

Tasks on your schedule are more likely than not to get done. Whether it’s sending a congratulatory card or meeting a colleague for coffee, schedule your networking time in advance so other tasks don’t push it out of the way.

8. Follow up.

If a colleague helps you with a problem, let them know how things turned out. If a hint about a job opening leads to a new job for you, thank the person who clued you in. Alternatively, if you do have an interview, be sure to follow up even if it doesn’t seem like the right fit for you. The person doing the interview will undoubtedly appreciate the courtesy.

9. Keep a bucket list.

Who else would you like to know in person? Keep a list of people you’d like to add to your professional network and find ways to meet them – whether it’s through mutual contacts, at a conference, or simply by introducing yourself.

10. Reach out.

Recruiters focus on building solid relationships, so having a recruiter on your side automatically expands your “extended network” – and opens the door for your recruiter to introduce you to the right person at the right time.

At FootBridge, our recruiters specialize in connecting dedicated professionals to some of the best jobs in Energy, Oil & Gas, Construction, and Manufacturing employers. To learn more, contact us today.