Time for a quick reality check: Do most of your professional contacts look, act, and think like you?
If so, today’s post is just for you.
While it’s human nature to gravitate toward people who are similar to us, it’s essential to your career success to cultivate a robust network – one that’s full of individuals with broad backgrounds, varying life and career experiences, and unique perspectives.
Below, we review the why’s and how’s of building a diverse professional network.
Why is a diverse career network important?
New contacts can connect you with new job opportunities, influential people, and others who can aid in your career growth. When you proactively broaden your network, seeking out individuals who are diverse both professionally and personally, you stand to gain in several ways:
- You can broaden your thinking, learn new perspectives and become a more creative problem-solver.
- You widen the range of new people you meet, new experiences you have, and job opportunities you uncover.
- You can even support efforts to diversify your organization and industry.
How can you build a more diverse professional network?
Meeting people face-to-face may be off the table for a while yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t broaden your reach. Here are a few tips:
- Tap into your current network. Your existing community can personally introduce you to a wider range of individuals.
- Be intentional about the groups you join and events you attend. Think beyond the obvious choices, looking for communities and organizations that could expose you to different types of people and experiences. Be willing to go a bit outside of your comfort zone to connect with people and groups, unlike those with which you’d typically associate.
- Focus on building relationships with individuals, not specific demographics. Diversifying your network should be a means to an end, not the goal itself. Seek to create meaningful, mutually beneficial professional connections.