No matter what industry you work in, it pays off to have a strong professional network. For young professionals, it’s primetime to build their network since they’re just entering the workplace and those connections can go a long way as they move along in their careers. To some, meeting and connecting with strangers, or even simply shoring up the connections they already have, can feel a little daunting. It’s true that if you want a great network, you’ll need to put the work in, but you’ll see plenty of benefits down the road from all of that hard work.
Put yourself out there
Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, it’s important to make a conscious effort to put your best foot forward and get to know other people. Attending networking events, whether within your company or your community, is a fantastic option. Find a professionals group and organizations affiliated with your industry and get to know more people. Take up a hobby and talk to the people there. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about. The more effort you put into getting to know others, the easier it is to make genuine connections and grow your network. The same goes for at your job; get to know the people around you so you can work in a place you see friendly faces and feel a personal connection with your coworkers.
Actually listen to others
As you’re networking and getting to know people, make sure you’re actively listening to what the people you’re speaking with are saying. People can tell when you’re listening to them and when you’re simply glazing over. Ask questions and stay engaged in the conversation; you could learn something new and make a great addition to your network. Too many people do not listen to others when they speak, so show that you’re an exception and cultivate real connections.
Pull others with you
One of the best steps you can take as you move up in your career is pulling other people along with you. If you’re in a position to pass along someone’s resume, provide a reference, or let someone know about a job opening, do so! Do not view others as competitors, instead, think of them as people you can help who might one day be someone you’re working with or for; you want to have that strong connection and help push others closer to their dreams. People remember and appreciate those who’ve helped them along the way, but you should also want to help others because it’s simply the right thing to do.
Be nice to everyone
This tip can help your career, but it’s also just generally good advice for your life. No matter what your position is, do not think people are under you or be rude. You never know who’s watching or when you’ll encounter that person again. Being nice to others can make you feel better if you’re having a bad day and it can ignite interesting conversations.