You may have focused on networking inside of your industry up to this point in your career. It’s only natural, right? Why would you need contacts outside of your industry?
According to Dorie Clark, Author & Professor at Duke University, there are a few reasons why you may want to step outside your industry with networking.
It opens up your options if you want to change careers, especially in an instance when your overall industry has been impacted negatively. If that happens, your industry contacts may not be much use for potential employment, since everyone is in the same boat as you.
You never know when you or a client will need some outside industry advice. Plus, networking with people outside your industry will help to broaden your horizons in how you view your industry and the world.
Here are some tips to get you stepping outside of your comfort zone to network with other industry professionals.
Evaluate Your Network
It’s possible that you’ve already completed some networking outside of your industry.
Evaluate the people that you consider part of your network, based on the amount of time you spend with them and the industry in which you work.
If you find that a high percentage of the people that you spend the most time with are within your industry, it’s time for you to start networking to find people outside of your area of expertise.
Those already in your network have their own network.
Sure, there may be some overlaps in your networks, but there’s a good chance that they have contacts on their network that would be new to you.
Ask them for an introduction to individuals in their network that are outside of your industry.
If there’s a particular industry that seems interesting to you, ask your contacts to see if they know someone in that industry. See if your contacts can introduce you to these new people.
Always Make Time to Network
Pencil in time to network on your schedule on a regular basis.
Building these relationships, especially outside of your industry, may seem like you’re not getting a return on your investment immediately.
However, this hard work can benefit you in the long run. You never know when that person you met at a scheduled networking event may come in handy in your life. Build and sustain the network of contacts that you make.
It can be easy to fall into a mindset where you believe that your network is big enough thanks colleagues within your own industry. You might become complacent and think that future networking isn’t that necessary.
Often, the most successful people in your life are the ones that have a strong and healthy network of contacts across many industries. These people help them accomplish their goals and stay ahead.