Andreas Anderson graduated with a Bachelor in International Business in 2013 from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, and worked his way up from dishwasher to department head in restaurants and 5-star luxury properties in different corners of the world. Today, he is part of the pre-opening team for the world’s largest IKEA store (in the Philippines). Here Andreas shares his top three tips to growing your professional network.
Degrees earned, skills acquired, and experience gained all play a vital role in preparing the road for a successful career. But when it comes to landing that dream job, it’s the people you know that will likely open the right doors for you to walk through. That is what César Ritz Colleges Switzerland alumnus, Andrews Anderson, personally knows to be true.
“I believe when it comes to our professional lives, our network is our greatest asset. If it is not, then we should make it so. All of the positions that I have held over the years—and most likely will have throughout my career—are largely thanks to my professional network, which I have intentionally nurtured over the past few decades.”
He’s not alone. Some research shows that a huge proportion of available jobs are not advertised publicly and upwards of 80 percent of jobs end up being filled by candidates acquired through personal and professional networks. With such a dramatic shift in the way we find new career opportunities, it’s worth exploring how we can grow and nurture these key relationships.
Here are Anderson’s top three tips to growing your professional network:
1. Always be prepared to connect
For Anderson, business cards are still a “must-have” for any professional.
“I always carry business cards with me. That way, when I meet someone new, I can exchange cards, which I later follow up on by sending an email. You never know if that person might become a future boss, owner, or colleague down the road.”
2. Intentionally seek out opportunities
“It’s also important to look for opportunities to purposefully connect with people in your field of interest. You can do this by searching for specific groups in your field and commit to attending their monthly, quarterly, or yearly meetups and gatherings. If you cannot find a group within your particular field near you, connect with a few online or through LinkedIn. Or you can go for a secondary option and network with others through personal interest groups, sports clubs, expatriate networks or charitable ventures.”
While it may seem overwhelming to build your network on top of a full-time job, family life, and other commitments, Anderson says it is important to prioritize these opportunities because you never know when you will need to call on your network in your career.
“As a parent myself, I know how hard it can be to seemingly fit it all in, but it is essential for our personal and professional growth to keep our network alive and active.”
3. Stick to your word
When it comes to networking, Anderson says, your word is the most valuable commodity you have to offer.
If you said you will do something, then make sure you do it. No compromises or excuses. Your word is all you have when you are networking. If that is tarnished because you do not follow through, it will be difficult to rebuild or repair that relationship.
“And remember, the people you meet and develop relationships with are growing and developing alongside you. You cannot predict where people will end up in their careers. That’s why it’s important to treat everyone we interact with decency and respect.”
Read more career advice from Swiss Education Group alumni: 6 Tips to Build a Dream Team