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When it comes to following a professional career path one of the most important aspects, outside of your actual education, is your ability to network with those around you. Networking is a key ability that can oftentimes separate you from the rest of the pack. Because it is a skill, and it can be learned, let's take a look at how you should plan your networking so as to be as efficient, and effective, as possible!
Get to know people in your area who work in the same field as you. Join groups, attend events and never be shy about introducing yourself. Use the internet as well. Connect on LinkedIn and other professional social networking sites. Also remember that networking is not only about meeting new people- keep in touch with people from your past. Reach out to old coworkers from time to time to see what they're up to. You never know when a friendly email will lead to a professional opportunity.
If you want to take your networking skills to the next level, go beyond the initial exchange of business cards and nurture the relationship for it to grow. Always remember to send out a friendly email asking how they've been or even a postcard around the holidays. People remember these nice gestures. Who is more memorable: The guy that vanishes after giving you his card or the guy that sends you a funny Christmas postcard every year?
Use the above strategies and watch your professional network grow.