How to diversify your personal network and why it's important
Take a look at your professional network.
Are most of your connections in the same field as you? Do they have similar backgrounds? Have they had comparable experiences?
If you’ve answered, “Yes!” to this question, then you might want to consider diversifying your network. We’ll discuss why this is important and give some tips on how to do so.
Why it’s important to diversify your network
There are two main reasons why diversifying your network is important. According to Entrepreneur, knowing people from diverse backgrounds and different walks of life opens up avenues to connect with people at different organizations or in other fields. And one of those people might be just who you need to know to hear about your dream job or to inform you of an amazing business opportunity.
In addition, Harvard Business Review advises that knowing a diverse set of people helps you come up with more original solutions and creative ideas. Because when you’re exposed to different ways of thinking, your own creativity is sparked—and that can greatly help you in your career.
How to diversify your network
The first thing to keep in mind when diversifying your network is to network intentionally. Think about what kind of communities or organizations you’d like to connect with, and actively seek out individuals who can give you an in.
Some ways to diversify your network include getting to know colleagues and friends of your own college friends, joining community organizations that focus on different matters than you deal with in your job, and volunteering for local non-profits.
Keep in mind that you can do all of these things both in person and online. Moreover, after first meeting someone, always follow up with a polite email or LinkedIn message.
It’s just as much who you know as what you know
Knowledge and skills alone aren’t sufficient to get your foot inside every door. The more people you get to know who move in different circles than you, the larger and more diverse your network becomes—and the more access you have to different communities, networks, and organizations.
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