Career networking: just the thought conjures up images of stuffy industry parties, awkward trade shows or "bonding" over sub-par bagels at a conference continental breakfast.
If you want to advance your career or increase your professional opportunities, chances are likely you will have to do at least some networking.
But if the thought of collecting business cards or pressing the flesh to meet industry contacts or clients gives you the creeps, Dave Fecak of Job Tips for Geeks has a more natural way that will appeal to your inner (or, let's be honest, outer) introvert.
One way that may be more natural, comfortable and certainly achievable from the comfort of your lap is building a reputation online, Fecak notes.
Participating in online forums relevant to your interest - either asking or answering questions - will help you make a name.
"I’ve seen this first hand on sites that I frequent, where my services have been recommended to others just based on my writing," he notes.
Another way is passing along relevant articles, links or other information on your professional social networks.
"I can immediately think of people I don’t know at all that post really interesting things on Google+ and Twitter, and their activity and curation alone scores at least some points," he writes.
Even better, both of these nontraditional methods, if pursued consistently, can provide a great value for relatively little effort.
"Even investing 15 minutes a day into some of these activities can reap fairly quick benefits," Fecak notes.
Also, both of these examples fall in line with the key requirement for effective networking: providing value without expecting immediate return.
For more ideas for painless IT networking, click below.