August 26, 2014

The Ten People You Need in Your Network to Accelerate Your Career

There are many ways to advance your career, but it is rarely a straight path. You can advance your career by staying with one company and methodically climbing up the ladder, although this method is on the downswing.

You can advance your career by leaving companies every 3 to 5 years. Or you can quit your job and start your own company, which often leads to new career opportunities, even if the company fails.

In reviewing my career, I’ve realized that there are certain types of people that have consistently helped me advance to the next level. I’ve been able to use them as sounding boards and ask questions that I normally wouldn't ask, and they’d provide honest feedback. This was extremely important. These are the ten people you need to have relationships with in order to accelerate your career:

CAREER COACH - Someone who has already done what you WANT to do, or someone who is advancing their career without being overworked. Overworked people are not good people to talk to.

FINANCIAL ADVISOR - Someone who lives the life you want to live and is better at saving and investing money than you are. Ideally this is someone who makes less money than you but lives a "better" life. This person doesn’t have to be a professional financial advisor - just someone who is good at it.

AUTHOR / BLOGGER - Someone who has written a book, or who blogs consistently. It's important to watch them as they handle criticism of their work. Writing in public opens you up to criticism, and the best writers respond to that criticism constructively

CEO / VP OF A LARGE COMPANY - Someone who manages big accounts or big teams for a large company. These resources are obviously the toughest to make a connection and build a relationship with unless you have one already. If you do get the chance, it is important to try to build a relationship with them. These resources know how business works and can give you insight into navigating large companies.

ENTREPRENEUR - STARTER - Someone who has started something from scratch and still works on it. I find that these types of people motivate me to keep going. It's also great to keep your ears and eyes close to the startup scene.

ENTREPRENEUR - SUCCESSFUL - Someone who has started and built a successful company. Ideally they have given multiple talks on their success or how to be successful. You can learn a lot from these types of people and many of the successful entrepreneurs WANT to give back.

NON TRADITIONAL CAREER - Someone who doesn't have a traditional job (i.e. who travels and works remotely. Has no home.) I have always been amazed by this type of person. They’ve figured out how to manage their finances and earn an income without having to go to the same office every day. Ask them how they do it.

SPOUSE - Someone you get along with and who doesn't hate you. Someone that listens to you! I would be nowhere if my wife weren’t supportive of me. I'm very happy that my wife supports my work.

RESOURCEFUL TECH GUY/GIRL - Someone you can call with any tech question. NOT the guy you call to ask, “My computer is broken. Can you fix it?” The one you ask, "How would I create a super simple website for my business?" type of question that tech guys can answer. Tech people are slowly taking ove the world. There are resources online for almost anything that you are looking to accomplish.

SUPER CONNECTOR - Someone who knows everyone or can get you to someone who knows someone quickly. If you build a great relationship with a super connector, finding the above people will become much easier! Obviously, you have to have something to offer to entice the super connector to connect you with others who can help you.

The core principal of all these types is that they must have energy and integrity. Integrity in the business world is a must, but you will find plenty of people who do not believe that mantra. Have integrity in everything you do and surround yourself with others who believe in living a life with integrity.

Author: Robbie A.