How To Build Your Career Tribe: How The People You Meet Outside Of Work Can Help Your Career

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Who are the people that help you most with your career decisions and progress? Colleagues and bosses might play a large part, but it’s people outside of work who often influence and motivate you the most. The desire to give your mum something to tell the neighbours about; the teacher who saw your potential; the friends who know exactly what it is you need from a job: their advice and support is invaluable.

This trend only grows through your career. With some thought and planning, you can ensure you have a ‘tribe’ around you whose help will make your career progression easier and clearer.

So who could these people be and what role could they play?

  1. Mentor – someone who is a specialist in your chosen field. This could be anyone from a family friend to an ex-boss with whom you have a good relationship. These people are great for giving you specific advice related to your sector and can often give you some help when it comes to seeing the next steps your career might take.  
  2. Peers – often people at a similar stage in their careers. You might meet these people at networking events, in training courses, through previous jobs or know them from school or university. It can be motivating and interesting to keep an eye on what your peers are doing career-wise, and by maintaining relationships you’re likely to hear of new opportunities or useful information.
  3. Trusted friends – not all friends will be very interested in your career. But friends who want the best for you and understand your ambition can be the most valuable sounding boards of all. They might not know anything of your industry, but they will know what you want from your work and from your life and can give you perspective.
  4. Volunteering/hobby contacts – people you meet through volunteering or something you’re passionate about. Whether you volunteer at an animal sanctuary or take part life drawing every month, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people. They might not be able to directly help your career right now, but often a passion or a hobby turns into a career at a later stage, and these people could be the first you turn to for advice.
  5. Career coach – this may sound obvious but if you’re in need of professional advice, a career coach could be an extremely valuable addition to your ‘tribe’!
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