Family Events Are Networking Events

Family, given or chosen, may not be your first thought when you hear the term “networking,” but whether your family is large or on the smaller side, they can (surprisingly) be one of your best resources and tools for whatever stage you’re in during your career development process. We have holidays aka designated times throughout the year to have forced interactions with our families, you might as well make the most out of them. These people care about your success and well-being, bypass the marriage and kids chit-chat and jump straight into the career advancement!  

Ask questions. 

Have you always wondered what your super smart tech savvy cousin did? Ask! Were you genuinely aware how high up in the business industry your aunt was? Probably not! Your family can help introduce you to a hiring manager, set you up with an informational interview with someone in an industry you’re interested in, or expose you to new and interesting career fields you never thought of before. Be intentional this holiday season and find out what your loved ones do for their careers and hobbies - it might spark an open door for you! 

Put yourself out there. 

Some people don’t like to humble brag or even talk about themselves in general, but it’s important to share your plans at family gatherings. Let your uncle know you’re interested in getting involved in sustainability. You might find out that he has a connection at work with someone in the Corporate Sustainability Office at his organization who would be willing to chat with you. Your cousin might know of an up-and-coming startup company who is looking for a candidate just like you! Opportunities grow and flourish when you put yourself out there and actually talk instead of refreshing your Instagram every half hour. These people care about your success and well-being, it makes sense to utilize them in your career advancement. 

Treat them like they aren’t family. 

Loved ones do favors for each other, that’s a pretty common statement. While people who care for you will most likely go out of their way for you, try to not treat them as they owe you “family favors.” Your brother-in-law may have worked very hard to build the relationships he has at his organization and will be putting his name on the line by recommending you. Make sure you are serious, prepared, and respectful when networking with your family. This means following up, making sure you are actually qualified before asking for a job-related favor, thanking them for their gracious gesture, and reciprocating the favor if you are able. Networking connections are a mutually beneficial relationship, whether they are family or not. 


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