People build their networks over a matter of time, it happens through the people that they spend the most time with.
As professionals, it makes the most sense that you will spend most of your time surrounded by your colleagues, and therefore your network generally starts to consist of them and their friends.
However, having a network that is a little too narrow, or limited to your profession, isn’t just hindering your career options, it could also have an impact on your personal growth.
Having a broad network is a great way to have a foot in the door for other industries, meet new potential employees/employers, diversify your skillset, or even meet new business partners. Thus, it’s important to meet people outside your limited industry network.
It isn’t always easy to meet people out of your circle.
So we decided to make a list of tips for you to use that will increase your chances of forming a connection with people from other industries.
1. Use Your Existing Connections
One of the easiest avenues to find and form new professional connections is to use the existing ones that you already have. Have a look at your current network – undoubtedly around 80% will be in the same line as you, but there will be some who aren’t.
Get hold of old contacts, or form closer connections with those that are just on the fringes of your current network. Reach out and get to know those that you might not normally associate much with.
2. Do What Makes You Happy
Everyone has hobbies, and luckily this is an easy, fun way to meet people outside of your current professional network.
Join a book club, volunteer at an animal shelter, or join a cycling club; do whatever makes you happy and you are bound to meet interesting people that can expand your network along the way.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Recommendations
Even though your own network may be filled with people in the same profession as you, chances are that most of them will know other people that are in another industry.
If one of your friends or colleagues has strong connections with say – people in the finance industry – then don’t be afraid to ask them to put you in contact with them.
4. It Isn’t All about Immediate Returns or Work Connections
Making connections outside of your industry isn’t all about getting immediate returns, or finding some way to use their connections to further your career.
In fact, one of the best things about increasing your professional network is that it’s likely to increase your friendship group, expand your thinking and expose you to things that you may never have been introduced to in your own network before.
So instead of looking for quick wins or immediate returns, take your time to nurture and grow the relationship over time into something that is more meaningful than a mere business connection.
At the end of the day, this could be more enriching to your life than someone who can simply further your career.