Your network is a critical resource as you begin to build a successful career. Here are five of the relationships you need to cultivate. Let’s find out more.
It’s never too early to plot a path to career success. Even when you start your first job, you can take steps to stand out from the crowd (your competitors) and boost your chances of success. The critical factor is the people you meet and your relationships with them. The network that you build early in your career can help you:
- Build skills
- Overcome challenges
- Get promoted faster
- Build a personal brand in your chosen industry
- Achieve your dream career
In this article, we’ll share five tips for building relationships as early as possible.
1 – Get a mentor
Having a mentor early on in your career can have a dramatic impact. Think of a mentor as your guide when you need it the most, helping you navigate your company and industry, giving honest feedback when necessary and plotting your next steps. A mentor could also become an advocate for you in your career (see next section).
Look for a mentor as soon as you can. It doesn’t have to be someone in your company, but that can help. Once you have identified someone you would like as a mentor, don’t ask them to be a mentor immediately. Instead, ask them if they’ll come for a coffee and talk with them. Build your relationship until them becoming your mentor seems like the natural next step.
2 – Find an advocate
If you can get an advocate or sponsor in your company, you immediately change your career trajectory. An advocate is someone higher up in your company who will speak up for you in higher circles. When it comes to achieving promotions, they’re your person on the inside who ensures your name is in the conversation.
However, getting someone to put their name on the line for you in this way is a challenge. How do you do it? The answer is to be someone worth advocating for. Be the best at what you do, achieve great results, and ensure people see how hard you work. Volunteer for tasks over and above your pay grade. Take every opportunity to spend time with people higher up the ladder than you.
If you can stand out above your peers, you’ll develop relationships with people higher up in the company who will become your advocates – and success is sure to follow.
3 – Build peer-to-peer relationships
Your fellow team members may be your rivals for the next promotion, but you can still work better together. Having at least one strong relationship with someone at the same level as you can raise each other higher, using them as a collaborator and constructive critic.
Look for someone in your team whom you get on with and rate as a top performer like yourself. As you build your relationship, you’ll begin to trust each other with your problems, help each other with solutions and create a lasting alliance.
4 – Befriend your competitors
Expand your network outside of your company and further out into your industry. That includes people working at companies that are supposed to be your rivals. There’s no reason not to be on good terms with competitors. Those competitors may end up on your side further down the line, or you could need them to help you. After all, they’ll be building a network too.
So, next time you’re at an industry event, don’t just stay talking to your colleagues like you do every day. Instead, go and introduce yourself to someone from another company. Talk about what’s going well and the challenges you face. The information you share could be helpful in the future.
5 – Mentor others
You won’t be at the bottom of the ladder for long. But, you need to offer a hand-up to new starters as your mentor did for you.
Take the time to help new people at your company. Find out about them and help them when you can. If someone stands out as a future top performer, take a personal interest in their success and bring out the best in them. You’ll find you will learn as much as they do, such as the art of feedback and being a role model.
Follow our five relationship tips and watch your career take off like a rocket. Good luck!