Don’t discount other industry contacts and professionals from your networking efforts. Typically, most people consider only those who share their own profession when looking to build relationships and extend horizons. However, there could be significant advantages to networking outside of traditional boundaries.
Many companies rely on their networks for business referrals. For example, a company requiring a new contractor will consider the opinion of trade contacts in deciding whether to hire that particular contractor. Ariella Coombs of Careerealism offers reasons for networking outside of your industry. For example, a reference from a professional in any industry is valuable in terms of job search. Maintain your contacts and you may gain references from professionals who are outside of your specific field, but are nonetheless impressed by your character and work ethic.
- If you only network with those similar to you, that may not lead to new business. However, if you are connecting with individuals from different backgrounds, this may bring you customers or business leads. For example, a coder who networks with digital game manufacturers and discusses different products may find projects or work.
- The premise of networking is to build connections. Some of these may require your services and some may not. Some connections may simply refer their connections to you. The best way to build networks is to help others. By referring a contact, the same may be done in return. However, build social capital before you request a favor and don’t ask for services that would normally require payment, such as financial advice.
- Professionals from other industries may provide interesting and useful perspectives. For example, an interior designer may gain salient advice or insight from a group of architects. Engaging in dialogue can bring constructive feedback. Ivan Misner of Entrepreneur likens a network to a “mastermind” source of knowledge.
Network contacts from any industry can act as sounding boards for ideas or focus groups for research topics. They may provide sources of inspiration and motivation.
We can recommend networking strategies and help you to build relationships that will further your professional career. Contact us.