For the young and inexperienced, your status and the relevance of your network is believed to be determined by quantity – your number of friends or followers on social media. This mindset often spills over into your approach to building professional relationships and networking. It is in the trenches of building a business or advancing a career that young professionals realize robust professional networks are defined by the quality of the relationship not just the number of contacts.
But how does one build a quality professional network – especially if new to a firm, an industry or even early on in a career?
As so eloquently outlined by the headhunter in Quartz, to build a network of relationships – one should:
- Start with what is familiar – create a foundation with those you trust;
- Uncover connections and ask for introductions from your foundation group;
- A professional relationship is not just about business – demonstrate you care about the individual too; and
- Be generous – a relationship cultivated from quid pro quos cannot thrive.
Understanding how to build a professional network of quality relationships rather than a high quantity of contacts typically signals a turning point in the development of any professional.
Networks are built on shared interests and values, and it often takes time to tease these out. You may not form an instant connection or find ways to align your interests in the short term, but knowing and supporting good people—decent human beings who are smart, honest, and ambitious—inevitably leads to good things.