Networking for Your Career Development

In this episode, I talk about:

  • Why you should include networking as part of your career development plan
  • The two types of people to focus on connecting with; and
  • How you can start to network today in a way that feels comfortable as an introvert.

Sign up for my FREE Network Like an Introvert Masterclass

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Daring to Succeed podcast. My name is Julianna Yau Yorgan and I’m a career coach who helps introverts succeed in the workplace by unleashing their introvert superpowers. 

Last week, I talked about the four roles to include in your professional network.

Today, I’m going to talk about:

Why you should include networking as part of your career development plan
The two types of people to focus on connecting with; and
How you can start to networking today in a way that feels comfortable as an introvert

I chose this topic because a lot of you who are employed and have been trying to get another job have decided to slow down your job search and focus on professional development instead.

Which makes this the perfect time for you to start building your network.

Because you want to start developing these relationships now for when you’re ready to make your next move.

So let’s take a look at why you should include networking as part of your career development plan.

Most people think about networking when they are ready to make their next career move. And while this can help, the most beneficial connections in your network are the ones who you’ve built a relationship with months and even years before you actually need their help.

Imagine this–you need to or are finally ready to find another job, and you want to reach out to someone to ask for an introduction, a referral, for anything. But this feels super awkward because you’ve just met them…or worse, you met them years ago and worry that they won’t even remember you.

Now imagine you are reaching out to a childhood friend or someone else who you’ve kept in touch with for years. You know that even though you haven’t spoken in a while, they’ll genuinely help you the moment you ask for help.

That is what you want to get with a strong professional network.

I’ve worked with a lot of introverts who worry they’re not good at networking because it takes them so long to build a relationship.

But here’s a little secret no one is telling you: it always takes a long time to build a professional relationship.

That’s why you want to give yourself a bit of a break but also start early (as in now) with building your professional network.

If you’re looking at developing your network as part of your long-term career development, there are two types of people you want to focus on networking with.

The first are mentors.

These are people who you admire and have achieved the type of success you want for yourself.

A mentoring relationship can be short term or long term, but they always allow you to learn from your mentor’s own experiences.

A great mentor can guide you in your development, giving you valuable insights from their own experiences.

They can also help connect you with other people who can help your career development, which is invaluable–especially if you find a mentor in the same industry as yourself.

The second type of person you want to focus your networking energies on are advocates.

These are people who will speak on your behalf when you’re not in the room.

Whether they are singing your praises, defending you or recommending you for opportunities, these are your biggest fans who also have influence at your company or in your industry.

They may or may not be people who you can work for, but they see the value you bring and the impact you have on everything you touch.

But how do you find and nurture relationships with mentors and advocates as part of your career development?

Mentors are easier to find and connect with.

You’ll often see them volunteering in the community, or are just super approachable people with a desire to help others succeed.

You can connect with them by being curious about their career and their story. If you resonate with them, you can nurture the relationship by finding opportunities to learn from them and by asking for their advice and counsel.

Advocates are different because they will present themselves to you.

They’ll often offer their support and show an interest in your career, expecting nothing in return.

Advocates are people you need to actively keep an eye out for. Especially as an introvert, be open to the praise and support they offer you, rather than dismissing the spotlight they shine on you.

Nurturing a relationship with an advocate is actually quite easy, because they will likely be the one reaching out to you to see how you’re doing. Accept the help and find a way to offer your talents in return. Even if you’re not able to help them right now, they’ll be gracious for the offer.

So that’s it.

If you’re focusing on long-term career development right now, this is the perfect time to start networking with potential Mentors and Advocates.

By starting now, you’ll give yourself ample time to really build a meaningful connection and relationship.

And if you’re ready to network with more purpose and not feel like you’re just randomly asking strangers for something, check out my FREE masterclass: Network Like an Introvert.

This masterclass will show you how to identify the exact type of person to network with, how to connect with them, and how to nurture the relationship–without it feeling super awkward and exhausting.

I’ll link to it in the show notes.

Okay, that’s it for now. I hope you found this helpful and I’ll see you next time!

Similar Posts