Networks are like alliances; you have (and are) a go-to person for specific situations. Each of your professional relationships is uniquely valuable. For example, if you ever need acorns cleared from your yard, Squirrel Girl has your back. This is where quantity can play in your favor.
On the other hand, there are seven types of professionals you must have in your inner circle. The Avengers have had at least 84 members come and go, but how many of them consistently save the day? Let us show you how to assemble your A-team for career success.
Spiderman: Ultimate Connector
You don’t have to be a master socialite to grow your network if you have this connection. Spiderman is the person who seems to know everyone. No matter what you need, Spiderman can introduce you to the right person. He/she is constantly building a web of contacts and is happy to drop a line for you.
Iron Man: Skill Builder
Whatever you need to know, Iron Man can give you the crash course. Feel comfortable taking on that new project or aspiring for a promotion. Iron Man will help you fill in the gaps in your abilities until you can rock it on your own. You’re always qualified enough when you know someone who knows everything. Plus, pep talks are included free of charge.
Captain America: Moral Compass
Moral dilemmas are tough, especially with the added pressures of the workplace. Captain America is a straight arrow that will always steer you right. He/she is highly skilled at navigating the intricacies of high-stakes situations. Make sure that your Cap is trustworthy and willing to listen to the entire story.
Thor: Approachable Leader
Of course, it would be great if we knew all of the CEO’s and could get anything we want with a single phone call. Unfortunately, higher-ups are extremely busy. Invest in relationships with leaders who show interest in you. Thor may not always be available, but when he/she has time, Thor is eager to help, even if it means using authority to lay down the hammer.
Hulk: Career Builder
Whether they’ve climbed the ranks or are continuously starting and selling ventures, the Hulks are all about fast growth. Hulk’s energy is contagious and he/she is the epitome of the “hustle” and “grind.” Your hefty goals require risks, which Hulk will help you properly assess so that you can smash the competition.
Hawkeye: Trend Spotter
You know that staying informed is important, but it’s so time-consuming. So, take Hawkeye out to lunch and you’ll be caught up on all the essential happenings. No trend gets passed Hawkeye. Find at least one in your industry and line of work to stay relevant and ahead of the curve.
Luke Cage: Career Shifter
Consult Luke Cage about any major career leaps. As someone who started with the cards stacked against him/her, Luke knows how to break out of tough situations. Lukes have the guidance for switching industries, pivoting job functions, deciding to pursue a master’s degree, or transitioning to remote or freelance work.
Testing Your Network
You want your network ready before disaster strikes– desperation isn’t a great basis for relationship building. This doesn’t mean that your connections need to have all the answers. However, someone in your network should be able to point you to a resource in response to any question you may have.
To find holes in your network, think about what you might want to know. If you can’t think of someone helpful to contact, start looking. Here are some sample questions:
How do I balance my career with my family life?What are the current industry trends?How do I decide what my next career move is?How do I switch careers?Should I get a master’s degree?Do I need a degree for this profession?What skills are most needed for this position?What is this company looking for in hires?Is this a profession I want to go into?Is this a company I’d want to work forIs freelance or remote work for me?
Anyone can be a millionaire if he/she knows how to phone a friend. (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire reference, anyone?) Get the right players on your team and you’ll be unstoppable.