By, Norma Tassy
In order to get questions answered, learn about resources, get to the next level, or secure a new position, one thing is essential: a solid network. Take a moment- whether you are in a position that you enjoy or are managing a transition- to evaluate your network. Your network consists of people who will return your phone call and act on your behalf when called upon. Network contacts are people that you have worked with and are willing to affirm your status. The people in your network are all types of professional associates, acquaintances from the industry you are in as well as friends and family members.
For your network to be able to provide you with the support you will need as you move through your career, it will need to consist of all types of individuals. However for your network to be effective it is imperative that it includes 3 types of people.
The Industry Insider
The industry insider is characterized by a long time spent in a particular field of endeavor. And a level of expertise and distinction in that area. An industry insider is important to your network because of their vast knowledge of trends. Their ability to relate where the industry has been and where it is headed is invaluable. The insider is also likely to know lots of people who perform many functions within the field.
A mentor is defined as a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. In terms of networking a mentor is a person who can help to guide your career. A mentor provides valuable input into important decisions. The mentor guides his or her mentee from experience gained in all fields of endeavor. Someone in sales is certainly able to guide someone in billing in terms of how to handle situations with management or with customers. Having a mentor is especially important to someone new to a field or a person who has recently changed industries.
The Power Networker
A power networker helps connect people. The power networker has relationships across multiple industries at all levels. But most of all the power networker is happy to connect people. They make calls, facilitate introductions and host events. It is so important to have a power networker in any network because they act as a bridge and help someone in telecommunications interact with someone in financial services.
A network that can support your goals, provide insight and information is critical at all phases of professional development. These contacts can be made almost anywhere: at social events, industry associations, on your intramural sports team, inside your office and sometimes even at networking events. Be sure to ask yourself which role you are able to play for those in your network. Be a mentor, an insider or a power partner for someone else. Try it.