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10 Tips to Building Your Network As a Young Professional

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By Alec Wilcox, Associate at Cushman & Wakefield Iowa Commercial Advisors

If you’re reading this, you likely already understand the importance of networking, and having a strong network around you. Also if you’re reading this as a young professional, you’ve probably been around more experienced people that seem to know everyone! The real question is, how do you get to that point? Know that while it takes hard work, it certainly can be done.

Check out these 10 tips to help kick start your networking journey.

  1. Get Out There
    • It’s simple math, the more events you go to, and networking meetings you set-up, the more people you will meet.
  2. When networking, don’t be hesitant to invite yourself into a conversation
    • This is especially important when entering a conversation with people you don’t know. Remember, people want to meet and connect with you.
  3. Check out young professional groups
    • The Des Moines Metro has an amazing young professional networking scene. These events are the best places to start your networking journey as they are filled with people at a similar point in their network building as you are.
  4. Get involved in your community
    • Whether it be a non-profit or professional organization, your mutual passion with your fellow participants for the cause will create strong and long lasting relationships.
  5. Utilize one-on-one meetings to build new and strengthen existing connections
    • The one-on-one meeting is where you can really get to know someone, and build rapport with that person. If you meet someone at an event you want to further connect with, suggest a one-on-one meeting over coffee or lunch.
  6. Ask the question “How can I help you”?
    • It’s no coincidence that some of the most selfless people are the most well connected. Good things will come if you find ways to help others first.
  7. If there is someone you want to meet, ask for the meeting
    • It’s impossible for someone to know you want to meet them unless you tell them. Have confidence that they want to connect with you too, because they do.
  8. Ask your connections for introductions
    • If you are having trouble setting up a meeting with someone, ask your connections for an introduction. Most likely there is a connection you have that knows that person well.
  9. Be patient, but diligent
    • Strong networks aren’t built overnight. Know that if you continue to put yourself out there, and continuously find ways to help those around you in a genuine way, you’ll have an opportunity to meet anyone you wish.
  10. Don’t let it monopolize your time
    • If you wanted to, you could have 4-5 networking meetings a day, and that would certainly help you grow your network. Here’s the problem, you’ll get burnt out, and something that is so positive could become a negative as it impacts other aspects of your professional life, and more importantly your personal life. It’s vital to make space in your life for other things too.