As you’ve probably heard by now, professional networking is an essential skill — some might call it a “necessary evil” — that can help you further your career. The people you meet through networking can point you to your next career move, act as references for jobs you’re applying for and mentor you in ways you never thought possible.
But networking itself tends to get a bad rap. It takes effort to introduce yourself to new people and the interactions can feel awkward or forced. They’re the blind dates of the working world.
Fortunately, with the ubiquity of social networking and mobile technology, networking has changed significantly in recent years. Thanks to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and countless other social networking sites, it’s easier than ever to connect with like-minded professionals and industry experts — many of whom you may have never met otherwise.
But much like in-person networking, online networking has its own rules of etiquette. Consider the following tips when building your network online.