How to Build a Professional Network – GradPlan

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How to Build a Professional Network

Find connections that can help you launch your career

Who Do You Want on Your Team?

No one who is successful has done it alone. LeBron James has a personal trainer, Jennifer Hudson works with a voice coach, Christiano Ronaldo goes to a therapist, and Barack Obama had a cabinet of advisors to help him with his presidency. It’s just reality that we all need help to accomplish our goals. So, who’s going to be on your team? Read our advice below so you can find the right people to help you achieve your dreams!

What is a professional network?

A professional network is the relationships and contacts you build when you meet peers within your desired profession or a related field. These could be people who you connect with directly through your work, or people who help you be ready for, or do your best at your job.

For example, a firefighter’s professional network might include other firefighters, paramedics, EMT’s, nurses, etc., but it might also include a strength coach since firefighters have to stay in shape, or a mental health counselor, as the job can be stressful.

Why do I need a professional network?

Having a strong professional network is incredibly beneficial. You can call on your professional network to explore job opportunities, collaborate with, seek advice from, and discuss current events and how they impact your work. Your network should be your most trusted source of information, references and recommendations.

How do I build a professional network?

You may already have a professional network that you haven’t tapped into yet. For example, the students in your major or at your university are a natural network of connections. Developing a bond with them can provide support and fellowship.

Here are 4 ways to continue to make relationships in your professional career:

At conferences, workshops, career fairs, parties, and even online networking spaces:

  1. Use your elevator pitch
  2. Have your contact information ready to share quickly.
    Use a traditional business card or prepare an e-business card to quickly share your contact info via your phone.
  3. Be curious! Listen to others’ elevator pitches, ask questions, and try to find connections
  4. Follow-up!
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