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Young Professional Networking: Why And How You Should Do It

15 October 2009 No Comment

Networking is very important for anyone in business.  For young people, it’s even more important because young people need to make contacts.  These new contacts can lead to a range of things: a new job, a partnership, a friendship and more. 

Why Young Professionals Should Network

Early in your career, you need to build your contacts.  The simple rule is that the more people you know, the better.  Even in my short career, I’ve met new people in the business world that are great resources for me.  Here are some reasons why knowing more people can be very beneficial:

Relocating

If you’re looking to move, it’s a huge asset to know people in the city that you are wanted to move to.  These people can help you find a job by introducing you to people.  Additionally, these people help you transition to a new city by having friendships.

Looking To Start A Business

Starting a business is a tough task.  A partner might be a good way to get a business off the ground.  Your contacts within the same industry are a great place to start.

Similarly, you may need expertise that you can leverage from people you know when starting a business.  For example, maybe a lawyer you know can help you with the legal side of starting a business.

Lastly, when starting a business, you will be responsible for developing business.  Most people take clients with them from a previous sales position.  These clients that are loyal to you are the obvious candidates for business prospects for your new company.

Starting a business might not even be in your mind (I think it always should be on your mind), but in case you ever decide to start one, you will wish you made as many contacts as possible throughout your career.  Focus on building your network just in case you decide to become and entrepreneur down the road.

How To Network

While social networking might be big these days, there is no real replacement for face to face networking.  The key is simply to be social.  When people you know are grabbing drinks after work or going to a networking event, you just need to go with them.  Every single time, you will meet somebody new.

Joining organizations that put on networking events is a great way to enhance your networking opportunities.  Most industries have some sort of group or affiliation you can join.  Additionally, if you live in a city with a large group of working professionals, you can probably find a young professional networking group (hmmm, maybe I’ll do a post on this in the future). 

I definitely recommend networking both within your industry and within your age group.  You want to make industry contacts, but you also want to make contacts in other industries that are your peers.  None of my closest friends work in my industry but I love discussing what is going on in their industry and learning from their very different experiences.

Social Networking

I can’t write this article without at least mentioning social networking.  Professional social networking through a site such as LinkedIn can be beneficial but don’t rely on it as your only method of networking.  Use a LinkedIn profile to supplement your goals and stay in contact with people who you don’t have an opportunity to see very often.

The Bottom Line

To sum up this article, networking as a young professional is crucial to the growth of your career.  The more you do it, the more contacts you will have.  The more contacts you have, the more resources you have.  These resources will help you progress in your career and help you find the best opportunities.

How often do you network?  Do you have any tips for other young professionals

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