02 October 2014
Of all the important aspects of job searching, networking can be one of the most difficult. How do you identify the right people to add to your network, and once those people are identified, how do you go about connecting with them? How many people should you have in your network at once? How do you maintain professional relationships once you’ve begun them? We have plenty of advice for all these questions, but deciding who you should reach out to can be a bit trickier. To start, here are five valuable professionals that every network needs. 1) A mentor. What better person to add to your network than the one who is specifically invested in your professional development? While any mentor-mentee relationship should be mutually beneficial, having a mentor can benefit any professional at any level in a number of ways, from career coaching to developing another great reference for your job search. Ideally, this person will be in a position you aspire to. You can secure a mentor by following our tips here. 2) A mentee. It may seem daunting to be a mentor when you’re still working on your own career, but everyone has something to teach someone else. Take the karma full-circle when you’ve developed a relationship with your own mentor and take on a mentee. There are a number of ways to be a great mentor—just remember that every relationship is a two-way street. A lot can be learned from teaching, and vice versa. 3) An industry pro. This may not come as a surprise, but one of the most important professionals to add to your network is one who is well-versed in the industry. This doesn’t mean, however, that this person needs to be in a position you aspire to—you can be in completely different branches of the field. In fact, it could be extremely beneficial to connect with someone in a different part of your industry. As long as this person has an up-to-date and firm grasp on the industry and its news, you can learn a lot from him or her. 4) The expert networker. We’ve all met one of these before: the professional who is so adept at networking, it seems they know everybody and everybody knows them. Add this person to your network and keep the relationship strong and mutual, and you should multiply your own network several times in doing so. This person will give you access to a number of industry professionals you may not otherwise have found connections with, and the more connections available to you, the better. 5) The resourceful researcher. This person may not have all the contacts as the expert networker, but they know how to find them. They may not have all relevant industry information ready at the drop of a hat like the industry pro, but can pull it up in a matter of seconds. It’s important to have an adept researcher in your network not only to be able to access information from, but also to learn valuable researching skills from for future use. Once you’ve identified these 5 people you’d like to connect with, read up on how to make the most of every networking opportunity and the 5 networking mistakes you should avoid, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful network of business contacts. Happy networking!