12 Tips for Building a Stronger Personal Network
When looking for ways to grow in your career, the first thing you can do is look to your personal network. By reaching out to your contacts and connections, you may be able to find new career opportunities. If you nurture these connections, you can create mutually beneficial relationships with those around you. In this article, we explain the importance of having a personal network and share tips on how to build and use one.
What is a personal network?
A personal network is the group of contacts one person has. The relationships you have with those in your personal network may vary, but ultimately, this set of people are caring and dedicated to you. These kinds of relationships are mutually beneficial to both parties, as you want those in your personal network to succeed and vice versa. By keeping these connections strong, you may be able to find new professional opportunities.
The importance of having a personal network
Having a strong personal network is important for the following reasons:
Support and guidance: When looking to earn a promotion or find a new job, your personal network is a great resource to find the support you need during your career journey. Those you are close to may be able to give you helpful advice or even a boost of confidence.
Exposure to career opportunities: Connecting with fellow professionals is a smart way to find new career opportunities. Your close contacts may be able to tell you about an exciting new position at their company or even give you a referral.
Personal and professional development: Being close to a group of people in similar roles as you is a great resource for your career. They might know about different events, courses or training that can help you move forward in your career.
Related: The Complete Guide to Networking
Tips for building and using a personal network
Follow these tips to get the most out of your personal network:
Make regular contact
In order to have a strong personal network, you need to nurture your relationships with those in it. Every so often, make an effort to reach out to your contacts. Show them you care by asking about their life and career. Offer to take them out for a cup of coffee to catch up. Even just taking an hour to chat on the phone is a good way to keep these relationships alive.
Go to networking events
If you need to build your personal network, make an effort to go to networking events. Look online to see if any professional organizations in your industry are hosting events. While attending seminars and lectures are a great way to learn more and meet others, you may want to find some kind of mixer or social hour where you have a chance to mingle with other professionals. You may even be able to find some virtual networking events that you can do from the comfort of your home.
Follow up with contacts
When attending networking events, make sure to bring along some business cards. This way, you can easily swap contact information with those you meet. After the event, make sure to follow up with them via email. Tell them you enjoyed chatting with them and would enjoy continuing the conversation over lunch or coffee. By being a bit bold, you can make some meaningful connections that might improve your career.
Offer your help
With any mutually beneficial relationship, you need to give and take. Whenever one of your contacts is in need of help, see if you can offer them any assistance. For instance, if you know they are looking for a job and that your company is hiring, you can refer them to the role. If you think they would be a good fit, you can even mention this to your employer. By being kind and helpful, your contacts may be the same way in return.
Get connected on social media
One way to stay in touch with your personal network is to connect with them on social media. This way, you can share interesting content with them and engage with their posts. When they make a status, consider commenting something uplifting to show your support. You can also share what projects you have worked on, giving your network a better idea of the work that you do.
Collaborate on projects
When working on a big project, reach out to your personal network for help. They might appreciate the chance to do a little freelance work. Likewise, working on projects is a great way for them to build their portfolio. Along with getting help on your project, this is a great way to strengthen your connections. You may find that you'll have the opportunity to work on their projects one day.
Ask for advice
Whenever you need career advice, reach out to your personal network. They may be able to give you some tips to help you excel in your career. Asking for advice is especially helpful when you need to make an important decision. By gaining different perspectives, you can learn a lot and make a more informed choice.
Choose the right people
Try to create a diverse personal network. Connecting with people who have similar backgrounds and experiences is helpful when you need more career opportunities. Connecting with people with vastly different backgrounds can be helpful when you want to gain new perspectives and get a variety of advice. Choose people who you admire and aspire to be like. They may give you the inspiration to try your best and work toward better opportunities.
Share your goals
Make your career goals known to your network. This way, if they see a relevant opportunity, they are more likely to think of you. You can share your goals on social media or when you are meeting with your contacts. When sharing your goals, try to learn about their goals too. You may find that you are able to help them reach these goals.
Start your own group
Rather than waiting on the perfect networking group to appear, consider starting your own. See if people in your personal network would want to meet up for some kind of social event. Ask them to bring their friends or colleagues. By inviting more people, you can quickly expand your own personal network. You never know if a friend of a friend can help you get your next big career opportunity.
Be a valuable resource
Whenever you find a helpful resource, share it with your personal network. Your contacts might appreciate an informative blog, website, video or tool that you shared. If you ever find a free event or course, share these things too. By being a valuable resource to your contacts, they might offer you useful resources in return.
Connect people with each other
If you think your two connections would benefit from meeting one another, set up a meeting for them. For instance, if your copywriter friend is looking for a talented graphic designer, connect them with a designer you know. When establishing these connections for others, make sure you are willing to vouch for both people. You want to ensure that this new relationship is going to be beneficial for everyone.
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