One key to professional development is immersing yourself in the industry you want to succeed in. The best way to do that is to get to know people who are in your field or doing what you want to do, and making a point to spend time with them. Opportunities are sure to come when you are in the right place at the right time—and with the right people.

While there are many ways to connect with professionals in your field, three of the best places to begin include: your workplace, industry associations and professional networking sites.

Your workplace
The most practical place to start building your professional network is with your coworkers. Every day, you interact with a group of individuals with shared goals and professional interests. Make a point to build those relationships, not just during work hours, but in your personal time as well. As these relationships grow, you will learn things along the way—from their experiences, knowledge and friends—that will help guide you in your career. At the very minimum, you will have gained a new comrade.

Industry associations
Joining an industry association is another strategic way to surround yourself with like-minded professionals. Need help finding one? Weddle’s Association Directory can be a great resource. Industry associations will not only expose you to new people, they will keep you up-to-date with the latest developments in your field and offer you resources that will increase your knowledge and value. Additionally, you will stay informed about up-and-coming industry events—another great place to make connections and build your professional network.

Professional networking sites
Social media has opened the door to an untold number of opportunities for workers in every industry. LinkedIn is a great example of a professional networking site that’s primary function is to connect you to other individuals in your field. A goldmine of opportunities, sites such as LinkedIn will help you expand your professional network and introduce you to individuals who will be invaluable to your career pursuits.

It’s said, successful people surround themselves with other successful people. Their knowledge, experience, work ethic and drive have a way of rubbing off on those who run in the same circles. If you want to thrive in your career, flock to those who share your professional ambitions!