One of the easiest and most efficient ways to build your professional network is where you work! You probably don’t know it but you might know a lot of people within the organization you are at currently. Take a few moments and write down all the people you know relatively well at your company. You will be surprised with how many people you know.
Now you have an amazing start to truly build your network within your company. LinkedIn is a great way to make connections online. You can even ask for references via LinkedIn (of course, if you company allows it.) Once you connect with your initial contacts you can check out their networks and grow that way.
At the company level, you can reach out to those professionals you already know. Take them out for coffee–ask questions and learn about what they do and what their future plans are–essentially, take an interest in what they do! Also, if you know, lets say 12 people in your company–utilize these foundational connections to get introduced to others! Before you know it you will know dozens of people within your company in a short time because you have the leverage of working for the same company and knowing the same people.
This type of work-related network will give you an amazing opportunity to grow your social skills, build an inter-work network, find resources you never thought you could, understand your company (and industry) better, and learn about what you truly want to do in your career.