Professional Networking applies to whether you are an employee or business owner, as you will not only need or want to connect with like-minded people, but sometimes also need a referral or an introduction that may be beneficial for your career progress or business growth.
Have you ever considered the question of who would ideally be in your professional network?
Penn State Alumni Association (n.d) advises “In general, you want to include people in your network with whom you can build relationships through commonalities and who are willing to share information, advice, and referrals. You want people who can tell you about job openings, who can introduce you to people with hiring power, and who may be willing to hire you in the future. Not every person in your network will have the same role. Furthermore, an individual’s role may change over time, as they build their network, change jobs or careers, and gain more knowledge.”
When I evaluate my own network, I categorize them broadly into two areas; community and growth building, as well as income generating as I am an entrepreneur and business owner.
I classify my network into five categories;
- Event Planners
- Media Outlets
- Joint Venture Partners (JVP)
- Business Networks
So while each contact might provide another form of value for me and my business, I appreciate all of them, as even a word of wisdom or other useful advice can help me.
From a graduate or an employee standpoint, the categories might look very different though when compared to an entrepreneur or business owner, as the employee may want to develop and aims for a promotion and the graduate might seek employment, in which case the network might include;
- Recruitment Agencies
- Career Adviser
- Work Colleagues
- Student Networks
- Friends & Associates
Nevertheless, it is to note that networking requires engagement, as Llopis (2012) explains “Networking requires 100% commitment…Networking is a responsibility and it requires active behavior.”
Who is in your ideal network?
Why do you think you need them?
What can you offer them in return?
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All the Best,
Llopis, G (2012) 7 Reasons Networking Can Be a Professional Development Boot Camp. Online at http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/05/29/7-reasons-networking-can-be-a-professional-development-boot-camp/ [accessed 12 August 2015]
Penn State Alumni Association (n.d) Developing a Strong Professional Network. Online at https://www.mne.psu.edu/PSNES/Networking.pdf [PDF] [accessed 12 August 2015]