Build Your Network
What words come to mind when you think of networking? Did words like career, connection, and purpose come to mind? If not, then they should have!
Networking in a professional or personal capacity can help you make connections with people who can help you pursue your purpose with career planning. One of the things that can feel awkward about networking is asking an acquaintance or friend for help with making a connection. Asking your third cousin’s husband’s best friend to introduce you to a lawyer can feel impersonal and honestly fake.
But here is a little secret: networking doesn’t have to include people you don’t feel connected to! In fact, the purpose should be that you are using the connections that you find real and helpful. Don’t be afraid to tap on those around you to make that introduction, make that phone call for that internship, or invite you to that event so that you can start your own connections.
Networking is work, but here are some helpful tricks to put you on the right path to expanding your circle.
- Your network is not about having random people, but about having the right people. *Don’t forget that Guilford’s Alumni Network is a great place to start because you already have the Guilford connection to start that relationship!
- Networking can be a professional career network so keep in mind how networking influences your career trajectory. *Ask yourself: will this connection help get me where I need to be? Will this connection be someone I can count on to help me build up my skills? Will this connection be a good resource for me when I have questions? If you can answer yes, then these are people you want to have in your networking circle.
- Outside of in person networking there are a lot of virtual ways to connect. LinkedIn, Facebook, Handshake, and any other social media sites that give you the opportunity to expand that network in a positive way. *Also remember to attend events! There are some organizations that host networking events to help you make connections with many people over food and drinks. These events can be super beneficial to growing your network.
- Always keep your networking circle updated. Make sure you keep track of who is in your circle, where they are in their career, and how they have been a resource in your journey.
Give back! The more connections you make, the more you can give back to your profession by bringing in more amazing people to help nurture your field. As much as others are a resource to you, you can be that same resource to others.