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5 types of People You Need in Your Network

5 types of People You Need in Your Network

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Your network is equal to your net worth. Birds of a feather flock together. These phrases remind us of how much your network influences your career success. Now everyone in LinkedIn Land is telling us that the magic starts at 500+ LinkedIn contacts. So we go about connecting, calling, reaching out and networking with people to build our network, but are you using any strategy? The highly effective network must be diverse and should have five types of people.

  1. The Mentors: Whether formal or informal, you want to connect with people who can shed light on your career direction. I recommend having multiple mentors. You want a very relatable mentor that is just a few steps ahead of you career wise. Someone that you can reach out and touch. You’ll want a mentor that is wise and well versed in your industry, a person who you trust and have a lot of respect for. In addition, I have always had a virtual mentor. This isn’t a person that I can call, or email and ask to look at my resume, but a star who is doing huge things. A virtual mentor that you watch from afar and get excited. For me that’s Oprah Winfrey! She reminds me of all of the possibilities that exist for people who share information and coach others to live a purposeful life.
  2. Decision Makers: People in the industries that you are interested in that have earned leadership positions such as supervisors, managers, directors and vice presidents, could one day be in a position to hire you! You want to know the decision makers in your field. Don’t wait until you’re job searching to identify and network with decision makers, look for opportunities to speak with them about culture and climate before you have a need.
  3. Peers: A healthy network will consist of a group of people that are like you in terms of age and career level, but are diverse in demographics such as race, gender and location. There are tons of “age-level” networking groups like The Urban League Young Professionals, Network Under 40, The Red Hat Society and Ellevate Network just to name a few. I’ve used LinkedIn’s Find Alumni feature to connect with peers. Have you tried it?
  4. Friends: Not everyone in your network will have the combined title of friend, but don’t eliminate your friends when networking. Identify the friends who clap for you when you win and make them a part of your network. Keep them informed of your activities and offer to support them as well. We all need people in our lives that sincerely care about us.
  5. Connectors: Extremely valuable to your growth is access to connectors, people who have deep networks of their own that they are open to sharing. Connectors enjoy introducing people to other people, information and resources. Think about the things that are valuable to you. Who do you know that knows a lot about the players in that arena? How often do you network with that person?

What does your network look like? Have you taken care to include each of the five types of people? Are you struggling to find individuals that fit the bill? Drop a note below and let me know what you think.

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