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How to build a meaningful professional network

Hannah Johnston

Jan 12, 2024
min read

Actionable tips to build a network that's reliable and authentic in your early career.

Most of us are familiar with the phrases ‘your network is your net worth’ and ‘it’s not what you know it’s who you know’, but how do these play out in practice? How do we build and continue to grow a professional network that is authentic and reliable so that we can lean on it throughout our entire careers? 

In this blog, we share our quick tips to start and grow your professional network. 

Let’s dive in. 

1. Join communities 

Joining communities you have shared values and interests with is a great way to build authentic relationships. You can discover communities you care about through resources like Meetup, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, online and in-person noticeboards, educational institutions and more. 

2. Ask 

It might be daunting asking people for their time to meet but the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. If there is a particular mentor you’re interested in learning from, reach out to them for a coffee.  

3. Show gratitude

If someone offers you their time, you can give back by simply reassuring them that you’ve learned from them. Share your thanks and mention where you’ve used their expertise to better your life and career. Small gifts of thanks – tangible or not, can go a long way. 

4. Volunteer 

Volunteering for causes you care about can help you build your early career profile, grow your network, and experience the intrinsic value of volunteering. A great example from our community is Alex Cheng, who founded the Careers in Colour Organisation. 

5. Collaborate

If you’re presented with the opportunity to collaborate on projects with stakeholders you haven’t met (from either inside or outside your current org), say yes! Being your authentic self and playing to your strengths when collaborating with others can help leave a lasting impression and open up opportunities in the future. 

6. Expand online 

Once you have developed an authentic relationship with someone, it’s super easy to keep in touch by adding them on LinkedIn. Then, you have a network that is genuine and reliable. 

Wrapping up

Building an authentic network requires time and effort but is a worthwhile investment in your early career. To stay in the loop with bite sized early career advice similar to this blog, follow the Hatch fam on Instagram.

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