I am 24 years old. My field is data analytics. I understand that building a network will eventually pay off, in one capacity or another. Can you tell me the most effective things I can do to grow my network now? I want to get the highest possible return on my time investment.

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2 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    This is a good question. I’m going to answer it, but I want to say up front that the tactics I’m going to list here are good for anyone, no matter what age they are or where they are in their career.

    People get career stability from their network. There are not forever jobs anymore. But there are great job hunters who can rely on their network to get the next job. A solid network ensures you are never starving and you are never bored.

    1. Publish your ideas.
    Blogs are effective for being known for your ideas. And the way that you connect with people – really connect with them, is talk about what’s on your mind. So blogging is not a way to make a lot of money, but blogging a great way to reach your goals because it helps you create a network of people who care about you and how you think, and they’ll want to help you.

    2. Use social media to meet new people.
    Yes, there are way too many social media options. It’s overwhelming, but only if you try to keep track of it all. Instead, pick a few publishing tools that are true to you — if you write well, use Twitter, if you take good pictures, use Instagram, if you travel a lot use Tripit. Then organize your accounts into a single spot so you can focus on actually connecting with people instead of connecting with the technology. Staples just launched a good way to organize social media accounts. Check it out here.

    3. Send targeted email.
    You don’t need to connect with 500 people. In fact, Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn once told me that a network of just five people is plenty, as long as they are close to you and from five different industries. In that case, sending targeted emails with specific goals will help you make those key five connections. Just get good at writing cold emails people will answer.

    4. Forget small talk.
    A lot of people think you have to talk about stupidity in order to build a network. That’s actually the exact opposite of what works. In fact, of all the personality types, the INTJ is the type that is best at networking because they can talk about any topic, they are good listeners, and they have zero tolerance for vapid conversation. (Wondering if you’re good at networking? Find out your personality type.

    5. Be a good friend.
    People will do the most to help their friends, not their acquaintances. So be a good friend and you’ll enjoy the same treatment in return. Focus on doing nice things for other people and without even thinking about what you’ll get in return, you’ll have the support system you need when it’s time.

    Penelope

  2. Anna
    Anna says:

    Agree about INTJ’s and networking. This is unexpected because of the introverted trait. However, I witness this in my husband all the time. He is great at maintaining networks.

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