How to Build a Strong Network

Recently I saw an article in the paper with the following headline: “If You Want to be Able to Find a Job in Your 50’s, make a lot of friends in your 40’s.” Good advice. In fact, I think that the best way to find a job at any age is to rely on your friends. Your friends are your network.

Many people dislike networking. They see it as a difficult chore. They feel uncomfortable at networking events. If doesn’t have to be this way. All it takes is a little paradigm shift. You’re not networking, you’re making friends. I encourage members of my career mentoring site to think of networking as making friends. That way it doesn’t seem as onerous or scary.

Friends do things for one another, usually without expecting anything in return. Friends stay in touch. Friends support one another. If you want to build a strong network, do these three things for the people in your life.

Here are some personal examples. A friend of mine has written a great new book on effective leadership conversations. She is launching a web based training program to accompany it. She asked if I would be willing to help with the launch. I didn’t ask “What’s in it for me?” I said, “Sure I’ll help.” That’s what friends do.

Another friend lives in the low country of South Carolina near Charleston. Recently that area had some devastating rains and flooding. I sent him an email to see how he was doing. Fortunately, he was fine – a little water on their screened in porch and a very soggy lawn. He told me that he really appreciated me checking in to see how things were going for him. I told him “That’s what friends do.”

An old friend from my graduate school days lost his wife to cancer a couple of years ago. I had the date marked in my calendar. I sent him an email on the date asking how he was doing and letting him know that I am here for him. That’s what friends do.

The common sense point here is simple. Think of networking as making friends. When you make friends do things for them and expect nothing in return. Stay in touch and support your friends. Do these three things and you’ll build a strong network who will be there to support you when you need it.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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