NETWORKING / AUG. 02, 2014
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How to Figure Out The Best Career Peers to Network With

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The wise King Solomon once said, show me your friends and I’ll show you your true character. Indeed, the people we surround ourselves with influence us on so many levels. For instance, the way of life in our respective local communities subliminally curves out the boundaries of acceptable practices and taboos within our own personal lives. Similarly, the career peers we network with have a strong influence on our individual career journeys.

But first, let’s look at the...

Common Mistakes Made When Seeking Career Peers to Network With

In a bid to figure out the best career peers to network with, some of us obliviously commit these errors:

  • Avoiding career peers doing better than us. This makes us miss on the much needed guidance from those who know what’s best for our current career path.
  • Only focusing on the familiar territory when building a Network thus limiting the scope of our career mentality. This brings in career peers that merely encourage us in our comfort zones which consequently boosts chances of career stagnation.
  • Refusing to accept Career peers with divergent views and opinions because our fragile egos won’t accept harsh yet constructive criticism. 
  • Turning the Network into a Friendship Club and thus getting held down by joy riders when it’s time for the network to upgrade to a whole new Career level.
  • Building a network with no concrete Goals or Agenda in mind. And so instead of it being a source of progressive experience, it becomes another mere social formality.

What kind of Network should it Be?
When an educational institution is established, there are standards and foundational principles that used to recruit students thus maintaining the institution’s identity. Therefore in light of establishing an identity, the career peer network should be:

  • A progressive one that has a vision ahead in regards to short-term and long-term goals.
  • An integral community that doesn’t tolerate members indulging in corrupt malpractices at their respective workplaces.
  • A multicultural set up that’s rich in a wide variety of career experiences which members can share.
  • An interactive hub of social members that’s devoid of snobs and introverts.
  • An open minded group that encourages the pursuit of innovative ideas and concepts.
  • (If possible) An international conglomerate that prepares members for global job market diversities.

Best Career Peers to Recruit into the Network

Now that an institutional identity for the network has been established, it all boils down to the career peers themselves. In fact, the more exclusive the network is, the more likely it is to chase away jokers and joy riders. And so in light of building a serious network, the career peers should have the following standards. They should:

#1 Be resourcefully skilled and talented in order to give a helping hand when needed

Useful career peers will always be willing to help each other in times of weakness. For instance, when it comes to informational interviewing, a career peer with a daunting task at the workplace can be helped with crucial information by a more experienced and informed career peer within the network. That way, hefty consultation fees will not only be saved, but also the indispensability of members within the network is enhanced.

#2 Be connected, informed and willing to share latest opportunities with members

When it comes to networking, members should be willing to help each other especially during tough economic times when unemployment and stiff competition is rampant. Though this shouldn’t be mandatory, it would be preferable if members had connections and acquaintances that kept them informed in advance about the latest job opportunities in various firms. That way, the likelihood of a career peer within the network being unemployed is greatly diminished.

#3 Have some level of career excellence to discourage Incompetence within the network

As I reiterated earlier, the last thing you want is to network with joy riders that have no career standards. Therefore, in a bid to maintain competence within the network, members should demonstrate their qualifications through various parameters such as academic qualifications, work experience, exposure threshold and so forth.

#4 Have career goals that are in tune with network plans

When career peers join a network, they do so because they would want to achieve their career goals faster without necessarily having to be inconvenienced by conflicting networking plans. Otherwise, there will be an unnecessary turnover of members which will keep the network stagnated in its initial position. Therefore, members should weigh the suitability of their career goals against network plans to build a sense of purposeful progress within the network.


When it comes to networking with career peers, we should be careful enough not to result to a military mentality. Therefore, it would be wise to accept a few compromising situations once in a while because at times, even the imperfect career peers tend to be more resourceful than the perfect and competent ones. Ultimately, what matters is not necessarily perfection, but excellence within a network of career peers.

 

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