One of the most important activities that you can do is to make valuable contacts in your industry with people that can help you in your career. The tough job market in 2012 demonstrated the importance of having good contacts in your Rolodex that you can count on in getting new opportunities. We are moving to a new year in 2013 and we are hopeful that the job market will turn around but most people are now getting jobs based on their business contacts in other companies. There are some ways that you can solidify your business relationships with people as professional contacts.You can set up a LinkedIn account for yourself, if you do not have one already. We know that some people are highly against using social networks to communicate with other people online but they are some serious advantages in using LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become more than just a social network but a vital tool to connect with recruiters, hiring managers, and your professional contacts that you already have. You can use LinkedIn to reach out to people that you have worked with in the past and connect with them online. You will then formalize your business contact once they accept your request to connect. You will also then be part of their network of professional contacts. You will then have their contacts show up as suggestions of people that you may want to connect with from the LinkedIn algorithm. If there is someone that you are interested in connecting with and they are part of your friend’s network then you can request them introduce you to the contact. This is a great way to expand your network and make the connections that you need to get a new job.You can also join groups in LinkedIn that are focused on your knowledge discipline. For example, if you are an accountant then you want to network with other accountants. You can join a professional group that only allows accountants to join. You can then add to the discussions in the group to build up your name within the group. You can then connect with people that have developed a good relationship with in the group. You need to think of yourself as a brand and what are you going to do to build a solid reputation for your brand name your industry? This is how you should think of yourself and when you approach new people to believe in your capabilities. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to build up your professional network with people online.