In a world where professional connections can lead to success, networking has become a vital skill for anyone in the modern-day workforce. However, like any skill, networking requires practice and strategic thinking. It can make the difference in making the connections someone needs or missing potential opportunities. 

As Forward Wayne County continues to focus on Employability, we will define networking and cover some strategies that will help any professional in their career.  

Networking 101  

Networking is defined as connecting and exchanging information with people who usually share a common profession. The goal of networking is to share beneficial information with like-minded professionals to help them in their work. This allows people within those fields to become better informed on current trends and practices.  

Over the years, new strategies and innovations have given this skill more importance. It has become an essential part of business operations and job searching.  

Establishing Goals and Expectations 

A great first step when networking is to establish some goals and expectations. Trying to connect with people can be overwhelming, and it is essential to narrow down your search. Here are some things to consider:  

  • What specific people or companies do you want to connect with? 
  • How do you want to expand your network? 
  • How is networking going to help your company or career?  
  • Are there any thought leaders you want to contact?  
  • What events are out there for you to network at? 

This is not a complete list of goals and expectations, as everyone will have diverse needs and aspirations. The best approach is to choose the ones that best suit your field and professional interests.  


Since its founding in 2002, LinkedIn has revolutionized how people connect. It is one of the fastest ways to find people in a similar field and allows users to network with them instantly.  

One of LinkedIn’s best features is the platform’s filters. Users can filter regional locations, specific businesses, industries, mutual followers, and even college alumni. Another great use for the platform is creating a personal brand, which can help give someone’s profile more coverage.  

There are several ways to use LinkedIn to your advantage, and it will massively expand someone’s networking.  

Networking Events 

There are several types of networking events some could attend. Some examples include hiring fairs, business summits, conferences, and workshops. These events give people the ability to directly network in person. They also have the bonus of creating and cultivating relationships that go beyond the digital space. 

However, sometimes, it can be hard to attend physical events. If that is the case, there are always online conferences and meetups.  

Professional Associations 

Joining a professional association is a proven way of directly networking with people in a similar industry. These groups are made up of people who work in the same field. Many professional organizations have national chapters but may also have regional ones.  

People affiliated with a professional association can usually access exclusive resources like job boards, networking events, and a directory of members.  

Cultivating Relationships  

Networking is all about cultivating and maintaining relationships. This means every interaction should focus on establishing a continual dialogue. While this does not indicate daily correspondence, it is vital to occasionally reach out to people in your network.  

Networking in Wayne County  

Wayne County residents have several opportunities to participate in networking events. There is always a new professional to meet, from business owners to job seekers. Below are just some of the networking opportunities.

  • Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce Hiring Fair  
  • Veteran’s Resource and Hiring Fair  
  • Richmond Housing Authority Job and Volunteering Fair  
  • HYPE Wayne County  
  • Whitewater Broadcasting Job Fair  

While that is not a complete list, it could be helpful to follow organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Indiana Works, and Manpower Richmond for networking opportunities. Another great strategy would be to connect with local employers and businesses.  

Our last blog post explored some job searching resources available to Wayne County residents. Check it out for some additional information.  

The importance of networking cannot be underestimated. It is an essential skill for anyone looking to advance their career or business. Several strategies and resources can enhance your networking efforts.  

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