Building a Network You Can Trust

 

Setting up your personal and professional network on a resource such as LinkedIn can do wonders for your career, but there are some important guidelines to follow to make sure that this works in your best interest. The most important factor is to build your network with the right connections.

 

This means that you can’t just go off and link to anyone who has even the slightest connection to you. This tact can give you a network of hundreds or even thousands of associates, but how well do you really know them? Will all of these connections be a help or hindrance to your career goals? And, can you really rely on them as part of a solid, trusted network.

 

Well, no, you can’t really consider them a trusted network, and a network you can count on is exactly what you want to build. Your network needs to reflect your professional image with people you would recommend and support, and people who would recommend and support you. If you put your professional reputation on the line for someone you don’t really know, then your image could suffer and your word could be considered not reliable.

 

This is a critical consideration if you want to advance in your field or change your career direction.. When you connect only with people you have worked with, know well, and trust, not only will your reputation stay intact when you recommend someone, but you will have a valued network of people who can make a connection for you, provide an introduction for you, give you their expert advice, help you with reference checks, or even be a great reference for a new job you’re seeking.

 

A strong network will increase the strength of your professional reputation, and also make you a stronger candidate for advancement in your field or make you a more viable candidate for a new career. Using LinkedIn or any other social networking site you are involved in as an example, here are five tips to help you build a valuable network that can be trusted:

 

·        Trust Yourself: In building your professional network, begin by first inviting your most trusted associates—people you have worked with whom you know you can trust.

·        Be a Good Listener: Determine what your new network of associates are talking and asking about, and jump in when you can with thoughtful answers and solutions.

·        Keep Updated: Stay in touch with your network regularly. Offering your advice, acknowledgements, and recognition will be appreciated and eventually rewarded.

·        Take Action: Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to someone you want to connect with—especially if you’ve done your homework and know this person can be helpful.

·        Be Proactive: Consider writing a recommendation for a member of your network whom you trust. Your effort will help them, and can be paid back to you in many dividends.

 

It’s all basic common sense, but, in general, don’t include in your network someone you don’t trust or someone you know you can’t or wouldn’t recommend for a job. And, following these steps should help you build a network on which you can rely and thrive.