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Expanding Your Career Network

By: Lisa Koning - Updated: 12 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Career Network Building Contacts Work

A career network includes the people that you have a positive relationship with and remain in regular contact with. They may be colleagues, past or present, or they may be people that you have worked with or possibly met during your career, such as at a conference or a social event. The people in your career network may be people that you mix with on a regular basis, or you may simply remain in contact via Social Networking Sites.

Having a healthy career network can be very beneficial. If you worked with people in the past and built up a strong relationship of trust and respect, you will feel confident taking their advice in the future. Perhaps you're looking for contacts, seeking information or advice, or simply interested in staying in touch. A career network is something that can help you move ahead quicker than simply relying on yourself alone. But, like any relationship, you need to give as well as take. Getting the most from your career network means being an active participant.

Invest Time in Your Career Network

People are unlikely to be of great assistance and help to you if they don't really know you very well. If you've worked well with someone in the past, it's worthwhile staying in touch with them. Staying in touch used to be quite time-consuming before social networking sites came along. Today it is very easy to remain in contact with people that you've previously worked with, with social networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. It also means taking the time and effort to help others out in your career network.

Your Career Network at Work

It's very likely that you will need an effective career network to move ahead at work. This means having a wide variety of contacts and working relationships in your organisation. These are people that you can turn to for advice and information, but these may also be the people that you turn to, to support any decisions or initiatives you may have. The more people that you have that will give you support and backing, the easier it is to be successful. Smart career networkers mix not just with people in their department or function; they build up a wide variety of contacts across the business. It is also the people that are well respected in an organisation, and have a strong and wide network, that tend to get promoted.

Your Career Network Outside Of Work

In addition to staying in contact with past colleagues, your career network can also contain a wide variety of other people. Whether it is people that you've met through suppliers and other providers or perhaps it's people that share a similar interest. Conferences and Interest Groups are good ways to meet people that share a common interest.

Be Pro-active

To maintain a healthy career network you do need to invest both time and energy. Whether it's joining an interest group or taking the time to get to know someone, being pro-active and building up a number of positive relationships can be rewarding in a number of ways. Not only are you building up a strong base of people you can rely upon, it's also helping you learn from the experiences of others. Joining charities and business interest groups are others ways to meet people from outside your own organisation.

A career network doesn't need to be restricted to only those people you've worked with or share a common interest with. You might need to seek out someone with experience or knowledge in an area you know little about. But remember, people will only be helpful if they remember who you are, so it's important to stay in touch and build up a wide range of strong working relationships.

The Importance of Networking

Networking can be essential when you are looking to change careers. Find out how to make use of this key resource in our article How To Network Effectively.

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