When it comes to networking, most people don’t jump up and down saying it’s something they love to do. However, if you ask someone how valuable it is to have a strong network, most would agree it’s an important aspect of any professional’s career.
I recently read an article from Inc. Magazine, which spoke to the power of networking in various facets of business. This was dedicated specifically to entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their company. While it’s crucial for these individuals to follow the rules of networking, it’s a necessity for nearly all professionals who are either searching for a job or seeking career growth in general.
That’s why I wrote my latest blog on 4 Ways to Build a Strong Network. Take a look below:
1. It’s Never Too Early
One challenge that recent graduates and entry-level professionals run into when building their network is lacking professional relationships to leverage. Although they may be new to the accounting and finance markets, there’s still network opportunity in your everyday life! Start to connect with friends, family, professors and even classmates from school on a professional level. All of these individuals can be a great resource for you in both relationship-building and career development. As professionals move further into their career, roughly 75 percent of opportunities will come from their own network. Therefore, building a strong foundation early on is imperative.
2. Be Active Online & In-Person
A network is a living, breathing concept, and needs to be tended to as such. LinkedIn, among others, is a useful social media platform to organize and grow your network. Connecting with close colleagues, mentors and simply those who share like-minded ideas with you will only enhance your professional network. Although LinkedIn has become one of the top ways to build relationships – it’s not the only way. I truly believe there’s no better alternative than connecting face-to-face and sharing insightful discussion with other professionals. Embrace opportunities to attend networking events with larger groups of peers – these open doors for more intimate professional gatherings such as meeting at their office or even for lunch or coffee.
3. It’s a Two-Way Street
One of the most frustrating phrases you can voice when discussing network strategy is “I didn’t get anything out of it.” It’s easy to feel discouraged if you didn’t successfully build your network through a strong effort, but this negativity is the wrong way to approach relationship-building! Think about a time when you’ve taken the initiative to introduce a colleague to another close connection of yours. When serving as a professional reference, you’ve truly embraced the spirit of accountability, credibility and loyalty – actions that will almost certainly be returned. Although you may not constantly be garnering new relationships to your professional circle, nurturing every inch of your existing relationships is just as important.
4. Keep Your Bridges Intact
Let’s face it, almost all of us have experienced a manager who we don’t work effectively with, as well as a position that we were unhappy in. When leaving a job or facing difficult conversations with a manager, no matter the circumstances, remaining respectful and professional is essential for strong career management. You truly never know where you may intersect with previous colleagues or companies again. It’s true that we will be remembered for how we leave and how we continue on our journey, and showing respect to all branches of your network will only help build relationships in the future.
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