A guest post by Stan Duncan, Senior Executive Vice President of U.S. Human Resources and Global Head of Management for Westfield, LLC.
When it comes to networking, quality is more important than quantity. But how do you find the right people? Here are five tips I’ve found useful for building your professional network.
1. Take a look around you. We often think of networking as connecting with people outside our company. But networking with internal colleagues is just as crucial. Go beyond familiar faces are work and get to know people who may be on other teams or business units.
2. Join a professional organization. If you’ve exhausted your internal network or happen to work with colleagues outside your industry, consider joining a professional organization. Find out the organization’s objectives, benefits and members to see if the right fit for you.
3. Attend industry events and conferences. Niche industry professionals may find it more challenging to seek out contacts. Take a look at upcoming industry events that are tailored to your specific professional needs.
4. Leverage your social network. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all great venues to seek professional contacts. Use social media to make the introduction, and then take the conversation offline.
5. Seek an introduction. Eight degrees of separation? If LinkedIn has taught us anything, connections can often be one or two contacts away. Start with your existing network and build from there.
Personally, I’ve grown my network through my involvement with the HARRT organization at UCLA. HARRT provides a network and forum for linking human resource executives and their organizations with academic research and teaching. I currently serve on the HARRT Executive Advisory Board, which is comprised of senior executive members from a range of industries. We meet regularly to advise HARRT executives on the strategy, content, and design of programs and membership.
One of the unique membership benefits to HARRT is the ability to provide customized service. Because of the intimacy that is engendered in a select and limited group of members, we are able to personally handle specific requests for information or talent with confidentiality. Through HARRT, I’ve built relationships with other human resources professionals whom I can exchange insights or seek counsel. For more on my involvement with HARRT check out the video below.