Your secret weapon for career success

The business world is tough, especially if you want to rise through the ranks and put yourself on an executive path. If you are ambitious and want to build a great career, it is going to take hard work and lots of it.

30 November 2018 | Business

1. Mine your contacts

If you have already been in the workforce for a few years, chances are you already have some current or potential mentors that could fit the bill for your advisory board. You want your board to be somewhat diversified in terms of expertise and industry knowledge, so start by identifying candidates from your own network such as old bosses, former colleagues, friends who are in a similar field and then figure out where the gaps are.



2. Network in

a targeted way

Building the rest of your advisory board starts with building a broader network, which most people do in a happenstance way. They attend a cocktail party, collect a few business cards, and perhaps even connect on LinkedIn. Start by identifying people in your industry and functions who you think could be potential mentors, then work backward to figure out how to meet them. An easy way to make inroads is to find a “common interest contact.”



3. Make the ask

Once you have connected with your potential mentors, you will want to officially ask them to be a part of your advisory board.

Exactly how you approach this will completely depend on the relationship you have with that person. For example, you might be explicit: “I'm building out my own personal advisory network, and I would like to know if I can stay in touch with you a little more often.” Or you might keep it casual: “As I build my career, would it be okay if I bounced ideas off of you from time to time?”

If the mentor says yes, be ready to set expectations for future communications. For some board members, you may be able to set up a monthly coffee date or a quarterly Skype call. For others, you may just want to reach out from time to time when you have big issues or decisions on the horizon.



4. Set realistic goals

This process may sound straightforward enough, but if you are extremely busy or introverted, it may seem nearly impossible to execute, but give yourself a break, because career advisory boards are not built overnight. Start by setting reasonable goals such as meeting two people in your industry within the next three months and go from there. - www.themuse.com

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