In the dynamic landscape of the tech industry, investing in your professional network can unlock opportunities and make a huge difference in your career journey.
While many executives are eager to help those new to the tech industry with introductions and networking, there are real barriers for many who are looking to build their professional network in tech.
It’s important to consider why this is important. Many tech communities in areas beyond Silicon Valley can be tight-knit and highly localized, and it can help tremendously to tap into a wider community and build professional relationships with people in the industry who are willing to give feedback, mentorship, and advice throughout your career journey.
Whether you are just starting out or looking to re-establish your network, refining your own personal networking skills and helping others grow their professional networks can help open up new opportunities for everyone.
Keep reading for tips from Powderkeg community members on how to build a professional network, how to network at conferences, and how to build relationships that are powerful and supportive.
7 Tips to Build Your Professional Network in the Tech Industry
Set a Networking Goal
Remember, people want to help! Most professionals are more than happy to share their insight and experience. Set a goal for yourself to reach out to 2-3 professionals in the tech field per month, and ask them for a coffee chat to learn more about their role and seek their advice on breaking into the field. At the end of each call, ask the person you met with for a recommendation or intro on who they would recommend you connect with next.
Gabby Popowitz, Sr. Director of Talent & Culture at Boardable
Be Intentional: Make Time for Networking
There are dozens of good tips for this, which I’m sure you will find and read right here. But more than anything? Make the time to do this! Make networking a priority! Don’t wait until you’re laid off or looking for a job, and please don’t think networking is simply about job hunting. Networking is about getting out of your bubble, learning, and giving back to the community. Make authentic connections with peers and leaders, ask for advice, give advice — and then watch the magic happen.
Joseph Loria, Founder at RetentionworCX
Prioritize authenticity in networking. Understand your values and interests, connect genuinely with others, and seek out like-minded peers and mentors. Quality over quantity matters, and engaging in community initiatives can boost credibility. Authentic networking leads to lasting relationships and valuable career opportunities.
Emily Finkelstein, CEO at VentureXpert Advisors
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for a Meeting
I’ll break the rules with two. First, don’t be afraid to ask to meet someone. Indy people generally want to help each other, especially young folks. Second, do your research. I always show up to networking meetings with a notebook full of notes and questions about the person sitting across from me. It flattered them and deepened the conversation and connection.
Hayley Brown, Marketing Director at Groundwork
Practice What You’ll Say Ahead of Time
Be prepared. Practice your elevator pitch of the three to five words that make you unique and illustrate your strengths. Then practice your three to five word “ask” for each person you meet.
Karen Mangia, President & Chief Strategy Officer at The Engineered Innovation Group
Send a Followup Quickly After Making a New Connection
Reaching out either via email or LinkedIn in a timely manner is important after an initial introduction. This is also a good opportunity to personalize your message based upon the conversation. After following up, invite your new colleague to another industry event, tech meeting (like a Powderkeg event), or even a quick virtual meeting to discuss the personalized topic.
Paul Dreier, CEO at Novilytic
Just Go! Start Today
Just start!! Get active in local groups. Go to events. Don’t be scared and just put yourself out there. Provide value and contribute if and when you can, but just GO.
Kevin Long, Sales Director at Groundwork
Creating a robust professional network requires genuine engagement and active involvement. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to building a powerful network that can fuel your professional growth and open doors to new opportunities. Remember, networking is not merely a means to an end; it’s an ongoing journey that demands nurturing and dedication. So, start networking today and enjoy the benefits of a well-developed professional network in the tech industry!