How to Balance Growing Your Professional Network and Keeping Up With Your Personal Contacts

More than three-quarters of recruiters find applicants via LinkedIn. Job seekers referred by a current employee land the job nearly 66 percent of the time. If you’re a career changer, someone in your desired industry can give you valuable pointers for submitting a successful application for a role in their field. And even if you have your dream job, your professional contacts remain important — there to share advice and resources, especially when you’re facing new or challenging situations.

In other words, you can’t overstate the importance of networking for your career. But in a time-crunched, maximize-every-minute culture, where are you going to find the opportunity to connect?

Muse writer Alex Honeysett suggests planning monthly events or finding a group on Meetup or Facebook to stay connected without a large investment of time. But even these doable options have never provided a lasting solution for me. I often find that when I’m in a pattern doing an excellent job keeping up with professional contacts, I’ll end up spending proportionately less time reaching out to loved ones. When I participate in career-oriented events, I invariably schedule them at the expense of social obligations to conserve energy. Likewise, on the weeks that I’m better about updating social profiles and inviting influential people to connect, I do a terrible job of replying to personal messages.

So how you do you build your professional network without simultaneously watching your personal connections languish? Here’s how to balance personal and professional correspondence, and network in a way that makes sense for you.

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