How to Develop and Cultivate Your Professional Support Network

professional support network

Having a stable network of supporters surrounding you is vital as you continue to accomplish your various career goals. A solid support network can provide you with a sense of security and stability. However, cultivating a trusted network takes time and diligent dedication. This article will share steps to take to develop and cultivate such a support network.

Steps Toward Developing Your Support Network

1. Make a Diligent Effort

The first step involves making a decision to diligently work at building your network. You need to acknowledge that it will take time to build your support network. The best way to develop your network is through constant organic methods. Giving your network “breathing room” to grow and develop will create a solid support group. Seeing the network grow and develop over time will allow you to see how well you click with others and what your trust level is.

2. Cultivate a Diverse Network

Think outside the box and learn how to cultivate a diverse network of support. Don’t simply look to those in one group, such as your family or only your coworkers. See the value in cultivating a wide variety of meaningful relationships which will help to advance your personal and professional career goals. Generally speaking, diversity stimulates strength into your network. For example, if you have issues of a personal nature, you will want to turn to family and close friends. Professional matters would best be discussed with those in your business and career groups.

3. Communicate With Your Network

In order to cultivate a strong and supportive network, it is important to keep the lines of communication open. Utilize the connections you’ve made and become a source of encouragement and help to others in your network as well. Keeping active with phone calls or emails to those in your network helps you all to feel connected. This builds a stronger network.

4. Treat Others with Respect

If you want to receive respect from others, then you need to treat others with respect. Utilize the “Golden Rule” and treat others as you want to be treated. You’re only going to get a return on your network if you are actively investing in it—with your own time and energy. When you show others that you are willing to give of your own time, talents and support, you will receive the reciprocated assistance that you need.

Resources to Assist in the Network Developing Process

Developing a viable network takes time and effort. There are varieties or resources available to assist in the cultivation process.

  • This article provides advice on how to build strong professional networks by maintaining personal contact, cultivating shared connections, expanding your horizons and thinking outside the box by diversification.  
  • offers suggestions on how to utilize LinkedIn for the purposes of building your professional network, recruitment, job hunting, networking and learning the proper LinkedIn etiquette.
  • Join one of the many Facebook groups, such as Network After Work or one that is more specifically related to your career field so that you can network with others and begin to cultivate a symbiotic and professional relationship with other professionals.
  • Join a community group on Google+ like Business Support Network or Entrepreneurs & Self-Employed Community where you can ask questions of other professionals, post advice and tips and receive genuine encouragement from like-minded individuals.
  • Start a Facebook Group for those in your support network where you all can share with others and encourage continued professional growth and development.
  • Utilize to start a weekly or monthly Twitter Chat with your networking support group. This is an opportunity to use a specific hashtag to converse in real time with participants in a Tweet Chat Room.   

Developing and cultivating a support network will help you to achieve your personal and professional career goals. The process begins with making a diligent effort. You need to think outside of the box and learn how to cultivate a diverse network. A strong and viable network is only possible through continual communication with the individuals involved. Always remember to follow the “Golden Rule” and treat others with respect.