Building Your Career Network

2012 June 27
by Grace Boyle

I have a close relationship with my Alma Mater and told our Alumni Relations to please send any student my way if they were curious about blogging + social media and/or if they are moving to Colorado as I am happy to help with relocation questions. Not to mention, this blog has established a voice around relocation, career, finding your voice and the next step in life so I find people I’ve never spoken to, outreaching. I love it.

I have received many emails or Facebook messages since I ventured out this way on my own and I found my answer has turned consistent.

Your immediate network and your peripheral network are your strongest assets.

Obvious, right? Maybe not always if you have just graduated college and are comfortable on campus or near your hometown you have those luxuries in front of you with support. Moving elsewhere, you won’t. At least not right away.

Before I left for Boulder, I created a spreadsheet and emailed everyone I knew. This list included family, family friends, friends, professors, old colleagues, internship sites – you name it. I trusted all of them and had a good relationship with them. What people often forget is your family friend that has nothing to do with the industry you’re interested in, may know someone who is. Or just someone who may reside in your new soon-to-be-home and could be a great friend.

Don’t just reach out to people in your field and don’t forget, the power of numbers.

I told my long curated list my plans to move and asked if anyone knew anyone in the Boulder/Denver area. I expressed I would love to be introduced or meet them if they felt comfortable. It was a simple request.

This list, through a professor who knew a friend in Boulder, led me to my first job. Note: This blog helped secure the position!

After three fulfilling years at that job, I found the itch to transition. I wanted to be challenged and was ready for something new career-wise.

Another close friend, mentor and my boss at my last job introduced me to the CEO of a TechStars startup (where I am now). Without much thought we were just chatting about the industry and he mentioned they were hiring if I knew anyone. A few days later, a lightbulb came on and within two days I was hired and had signed an offer letter. It went quickly and the ‘vouch’ of my network who introduced me and my previous work, was enough to move into this new, bigger role seamlessly. It was a fit.

Granted, everyone’s story will be different. But I can’t stress enough not forgetting everyone around you in your life, Twitter (access to thousands more people you may never have met in person) and continuing to expand your network.

The business world is small. Even spanning the country I find old business contacts or clients I run into at my current job years later and that withstanding relationship helps. You just never know who you will work with, interact with or connect with in the future. Keep that in mind and don’t doubt the power of a relationship. Just don’t.

So, go work on that spreadsheet :)  (and keep your LinkedIn, Twitter or even Facebook network current and relevant).

NOTE: Thanks to Forbes who pulled from the top 100 list for Top 10 Websites for Millennial Women and including Small Hands, Big Ideas. I know what it’s like to need advice and help, so if there’s anything I can ever do. I’ll always try to help!

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  • http://mikelewis.me/ pescatello

    totally agree.  Cultivating a network is the best thing you can do for yourself.  Go read “Don’t eat lunch alone” if you want more support to that argument. 

  • http://www.tracy-says.tumblr.com/ Tracy Schwartz

    Grace, you are such an inspiration! I love meeting new people and am very outgoing; however sometimes I am intimated to “add” them to my network, becuase I dont know how they feel we connect. Any words of advice on that?

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

     Thanks so much Tracy!

    You have a great point and maybe, another blog post I should address. David Cohen has a great blog post on this similar topic (http://www.davidgcohen.com/2012/04/26/asking-for-introductions/) which is known as the “double opt in.” This comes more with introductions in which, if you need something from someone or are looking to connect, you must first ensure both parties being introduced are open/okay with it. And sometimes, they won’t be. There’s a lot of weight with introductions and it means a lot to trust someone like that.

    On that note, the people I was referencing were people I already knew and trusted. Meeting new people, you have to be part ballsy, part full of tact. For instance, I don’t really accept LinkedIn invites from people I don’t know or don’t have context to. It doesn’t help either of us, if we BOTH don’t know each other. What could we do for the other?

    So in your case, I would ensure you feel you know that person enough. I would try to see how you can also help them and if they do for instance, connect with you and have a meeting, offer to buy them coffee, don’t take much of their time and come to them around their schedule.

    I think you will know if you’ve connected with someone and be sure to not push it either. Meeting someone for 5 minutes that you really want to connect with may not hold as much weight as if you met someone a few times, have mutual friends and ask politely if they have some advice, want to connect on LinkedIn, etc. It never hurts to ask :)

    I hope that helps! :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

     I haven’t read that yet. I love that title! Checking it out now.

  • http://www.jessgreensd.wordpress.com/ Jess Green

    Great post, looking back there are many times I think I would have benefited from looking outside my industry network but at the time I just hadn’t thought about it!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    It’s true, you don’t think about it. We just don’t realize that everyone knows someone and we know people not in our industry that do all kinds of things :) 

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  • http://www.mmask.qa/ Jobs in Qatar | Qatar Jobs

    Very interesting and motivation stuff, I like networking I always
    search people who are engage in my industry and establish strong relationship
    with them.