College students often dread the word network. I remember when I first heard the term, I thought it was ridiculous. Why should I become friends with someone just for what they could offer me? I don’t like to be taken advantage of, and I wouldn’t want to do that to someone else.
Once I graduated from college the first time with an spanish degree, I realized that I should have networked more. I would ask friends and fellow graduates, how did you get that job. I always heard the same thing. “A friend told me about it.” How did they have friends that I didn’t have? Where could I find these friends with all of the connections? It took me a while but I finally realized that these so-called friends that knew about all of the jobs were really just in my friends’ network. I made it my mission to learn to network and meet the right friends.
You don’t have to be a leech to build a great network.
The first thing I think of when I meet someone new is how can I help them? By thinking of a way to help them first, I am shifting the focus from myself. This allows me to be more approachable and friendly. Most people can sniff out a ‘user’ from a mile away. When I notice that someone only wants to talk with me because of what I can offer them, I generally shy away. However, in order for you to build your networth, it’s important to have a few key people in your network.
Here are the 9 Key People to Have in Your Professional Network.
It’s important, no make that essential, to have an updated resume. Not only will it keep you on top of your professional brand, but it will make your on-the-job review that much easier. When you ask for a raise and point out all of the ways you’ve added value to your company, you will have that much more leverage. Having a recruiter in your network will keep your options open. If you ever feel like your talents and skills are going unnoticed at your current position, you will have an immediate link to new positions and opportunities.
Having an accountant in your network will be an asset to you in one of two ways. It will position you as the go-to person for accounting needs; since people will know that you know who to turn to, and it will keep you in the know about tidbit accounting laws and changes. But probably the most important reason to have an accountant in your network is because of the IRS. Who really wants to be audited?
If you are the one who is the authority on sports then you might be able to skip this one. Business and sports go hand in hand, period. You can avoid it all you want, but if you can’t talk about the epic fadeaway from last night’s basketball game, or the 2 point conversion that had everyone in shock, you will miss out on deals. If you don’t want to make it a point of watching games or checking ESPN everyday then network with a sports guy/gal. You’ll know them by the fact that they are always at the ‘watercooler’ talking about last night’s game.
Steal Borrow some sound bites from them and network away!
Everyone needs to know that someone that is always the first to know everything. They may write an entertainment blog, you may always see them out hob-nobbing (that’s the word for networking with famous people), and you will see their pictures EVERYWHERE. You may have a hard time meeting this one person because everyone wants to know them, but if you can do it, you will be one step closer to the pulse.
Who knows, they might want to take the time to talk about you to fellow hob-nobbers.
This one is an obvious one. You should have someone that keeps up with the market and world news. They will constantly know what is going on and how it will affect their portfolio. And if you listen well, you might get some tips for your own portfolio even if it’s finding a good passive investment.
An entrepreneur is the person you met who is always trying to network. They either want to sell you something or figure out how you can build their business. But don’t get offended, that’s what they do. Good entrepreneurs will figure out a way to help you as well and that’s why it is good to meet one and stay in touch regularly.
When was the last time you talked about the state of our educational system? I’ve met many teachers and, I always leave the conversation with a new look at politics. Because the educational system is so flawed and the government runs it all, they will usually be up to date with new laws and provisions that may affect you or your kids or your lifestyle.
I bet you didn’t think you would need to network with a college student, huh? You’re probably thinking, what do they have to offer me? But didn’t we just talk about networking with those that you can help? Have you been listening? But you can benefit as well. You will get more fresh perspective from a college student than you will get from your other sources.
Finally, you should know at least one person who writes for a living. Or at least someone who enjoys organizing their thoughts onto paper. When you decide to begin writing that interesting life story of yours, you’ll know who to talk to.
Did I miss one? Who would you include in your network?