Developing Your Career

Four Career Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Connections

By Lee Hecht Harrison on March 26, 2013

A recent LHH poll reveals that 47 percent of workers ranked “connections” as the most helpful factor in advancing their careers. And research shows that connections are also key to conducting a job search, with referrals cited as the most effective way to land a new job. What are you doing to grow and deepen your connections? Are you truly building relationships or merely collecting names?

In her Harvard Business Review blog, “For a Career that Lasts, Build Real Relationships,” Whitney Johnson discusses the workplace benefits of business relationships based on mutual respect, reciprocity, and trust. The author recounts a disappointing networking experience where a contact prodded her for ideas and advice and then dismissively ended the conversation without offering anything in return. The key is in remembering that you have to give in order to get.

Here are a few tips for building relationships – both inside and outside your organization – that will help advance your career and enhance your reputation:

  • Extend your hand. Listen to what your network is talking about and take advantage of opportunities to offer advice or information.
  • Share knowledge. What information or resources could you share that might be useful to your network? It may be specific information about your industry or function, or a thought-provoking article.
  • Facilitate access. Offer introductions to an influential contact, colleague, associate or professional group to help someone in your network gain access to others who could offer guidance or information.
  • Say thanks. Acknowledge the helpful actions of others who’ve offered you information or advice. And take a moment to thank those who have endorsed you on your LinkedIn page.

Given the increasing value of connections in today’s workplace, it is important to use your professional network to establish new relationships, credential yourself, engage in meaningful activity that builds trust, and grow your sphere of access.

One Response to “Four Career Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your Connections”

  1. Peter Doris

    It is the foolish worker who offers the bromide,” I’m too busy at my current job to grow and care for a career contact network. Ridiculous.
    Everyone can find 20 minutes a day, if your career growth is a personal imperative. Ignore this advice at your long term peril. Great article.


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