As is true in any profession, networking is a fantastic way to establish new contacts, and possibly open up doors for future opportunities.
Today, networking has gone a bit more virtual. I’m not implying this is a bad thing though. In fact, it can be extremely useful.
You will want to be careful that you don’t rely entirely upon this method if you want to establish a truly credible (and powerful) network. As an elearning professional you have wide-range of options for networking, here are just a few:
1. LinkedIn – If you aren’t on LinkedIn, you are doing your career a disservice. If there is one social network worth joining, this is the one. Used correctly and you will get more in return from being on this site than on any other.
2. ELearning Guild – Completely optional of course, but joining the ELearning Guild (even as a free member) will introduce you to various resources you would have never had in the past.
3. Training Magazine Network – Pretty lively community centered around the broader training industry. There are plenty of sub-groups available so you can jump into those as well.
4. MeetUp – The best site for connecting with local professionals in a live-setting. Many MeetUp groups get together on a regular basis over food or drinks. The atmosphere tends to be laid back and professional. You may be surprised at the number of people who are also in your field (or perhaps looking for someone with your skill-set).
5. Association Gatherings – I hesitate to put a specific website on here, or even a particular event, since there are so many (large and small) all over the world. Many of the large associations have local chapters that put on specific events as well.
The short of it is that there are a lot of options available to you for networking with other elearning professionals, or even just professionals in your local community. As a word of warning, don’t join these groups looking to sell your services or get something in return.
The best way to work your network is to do something for them with no strings attached. Down the line, they will remember this and be more receptive to helping you out when you need it.