Your Professional Network Can Help You Succeed

October 25, 2019

Building your Network

It’s been said again and again: Networking is important to get ahead in your professional career. 

If you’re like a lot of people though, the concept of networking can seem intimidating or time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be. Think about the last person you leaned on for advice or the person you celebrated your latest career milestone with. You already have people in your life who are the foundation of a healthy and vibrant network. Start there.  

Recently, we invited Julie Miller, a Field Recruiter for the J.Crew Group, to share some thoughts on the value of building and maintaining a network of professionals who support your goals.

Start with people you know

With over 645+ million members in over 200 countries on LinkedIn, there’s plenty of opportunities to meet more people who share your interests. The best way to tap into that extended network is to begin with people you know. Who does that include? 

Julie reiterates the importance of connecting with friends and family. They know you best and are most likely to provide ongoing support in your professional career.

  • Networking your Way
“Absolutely I think you should start with family and friends, they know you as a person, your character, and they might have a great network that you can tap into.” Julie Miller, Recruiter J.Crew Group

Don’t forget to also connect with both your current and former classmates and colleagues. They can attest to your work and be a helpful source for introductions, referrals, and endorsements

Focus on quality vs. quantity

And keep in mind, building your professional network on LinkedIn isn’t about quantity, it’s about the quality. A good initial goal is 30 connections and there are many ways to easily find and connect with the people you know. Once you do, you’ll really start to see the power of LinkedIn pay off. Not only will you see more relevant conversations in your feed, but you’ll also be able to send your connections messages to ask for guidance, share interesting articles, or simply stay in touch. 

A relevant and healthy network will also result in more helpful recommendations of other thought leaders, companies, and schools to follow. By following these people and organizations, you can instantly stay in the loop on the insights and conversations you care about right in your LinkedIn feed. 

Deepen relationships with the people you’ve met along the way

Now you might be wondering “If I already know these people, why would I need to connect with them online?”  

By connecting on LinkedIn, you can keep in touch over the years and continue to play a role in each other’s career development. You’ll see what they’re sharing and be able to join into the conversation. You’ll also be reminded about important milestones, like a work anniversary or their next career move, so that you can easily say “Congrats!” or send them a kudos on a job well done.

  • Julie Miller Quote

Invest in your network today to set yourself up for success tomorrow. That way the next time you are working towards a new career goal, you’ll have a supportive and trusted community of professionals to lean on.  

For more helpful resources and tips on how to use LinkedIn, follow the LinkedIn Guide to Networking.