A strong network is the backbone of any solid career. However, unfortunately many people do not take the time to build and cultivate their network. As a result, whenever a career setback occurs they find themselves without a network to assist them.
Below are the 5 types of people whom you need in your network:
Generally, a mentor is a few steps ahead of you in their career path. In most cases, mentors provide career guidance and grant you access to their network. In an ideal situation, a mentor accepts the inevitability that you will have to move on and actively encourages you to find someone whom can help you get the next level of your career. You can find mentors in your workplace, school, church, or they could even be a public figure
Innovators are the ones blazing a trail in your industry and the world at large. They keep you informed of the latest market trends coming down the pike. Chances are, you are probably already acquainted with a couple of innovators. If not, some of the best places to access innovators are through industry trade shows, blogs, podcasts, and/or within your local arts community.
Supporters are the folks whom put in a good word for you with the top brass in your company, they also give you the inside track on available jobs, and/or introduce you to influential people. A great place to find supporters are within the realm of the administrative staff in your workplace, college alumni groups, and other organizations in which you have a membership.
Concierges are the social chair of your network. They can wrangle you the impossible to get invitation to the governor’s mansion and/or the sold out sporting event. You have to tread lightly with concierges because they are constantly being hit up by everyone for favors. Show appreciation for your concierge by keeping them in constant supply of their favorite luxury. Concierges are usually referred to you by word of mouth only.
Heavy-hitters can influence your career with one well-placed phone call, email, or even text. Unfortunately, heavy hitters can be difficult to get into contact with because they are surrounded by more than a couple of gatekeepers. The best way to get access to heavy hitters is through doing volunteer work within your company and other outside organizations. In addition, keeping a good rapport with their gatekeepers can also go a long way into getting you access to heavy hitters.
Please note that it is important to be an active contributing member of your network. In other words, avoid calling in too many favors without giving something back to your network. Even if you are still new to your industry, you can still contribute by giving quality referrals to and on behalf of the members in your network.