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Professional Networking: Reaching Out To Younger Millennials
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Professional Networking: Reaching Out To Younger Millennials - Executive Leadership Articles

Professional Networking: Reaching Out To Younger Millennials

Executive Leadership Articles

Professional Networking: Reaching Out To Younger Millennials

The best way to keep our networks vibrant and exciting is to add new people to them on a fairly steady basis. New blood means new ideas, new dynamics, and new possibilities. Too many people, however, look upward as they seek new connections, hoping for a lift, or they look laterally for common interests, experience, and the chance at new pastures. Seldom does one hear about seasoned professionals adding new professionals to their networks, yet fresh-faced, just-out-of-school (or still in school) newbies are exactly the sort we should be getting to know, because the strength of a network is in the value we add for others. Who has more to gain from our networks than young people new to the professional world?

Much mockery is made of the everyone-gets-a-trophy environments in which today’s young adults are nurtured, but the upside of this upbringing is the deep value they place on inclusion, teamwork, and consensus. While they may be justly criticized for their sense of entitlement, they also appreciate the time and effort others expend for their benefit, and they look to share the goodwill will others. As we strive to maintain healthy networks full of positive energy, we feel the strength of our connectivity when second- and third-degree acquaintances benefit from our influence. Nobody is built for advancing the common good quite the way Millennials are, a trait that gets shamefully overlooked by survival-of-the-fittest mindsets.

As the median age of our connections dips, we want to understand how Millennials stay in touch. Young people graduating from college today are not as tied to their email as most of us are, so it helps to be accessible via text messaging and other popular platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat. When we’re flexible in meeting them where they are, we add value in new ways. Additionally, we’re likely to be up on the newest places to get a good after-work slice of pizza. Emails might go days before they’re opened, but a message on Snapchat is often returned right away, and when we’re reachable with this kind of immediacy, we find ourselves being even more helpful.

The world has changed a lot since many of us were just starting out in our careers, but many things have not. Young professionals seek advice, guidance, information, and opportunity in pursuit of graduate school, meaningful contacts, job recommendations, salary negotiation, and career outlook, the kind of thing we’ve all been through.

Our contemporaries are already beyond needing internships or entry-level opportunities, yet if we pay attention, we come across such offerings in our fields every day. What was once noise obscuring the signal is a valuable commodity when we diversify our networks by adding people who cover the spectrum in career stages. We can steer them away from wasted energy, toward those workshops, meetings, and group memberships that really make a difference.

Although the value we bring to others is the rewarding aspect of our healthy networks, when we add young professionals to our spheres of influence, we suddenly find ourselves with new springs of energetic, young minds with fields of experience completely different from our own, and there’s no predicting what these springs might provide. Limiting ourselves to people who’ve been where we’ve been means choking off these sources, and why would we want to do that? Putting ourselves out there for people new to the working world means opening ourselves up to new possibilities, and a kind of liveliness many of our networks need.

 

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Professional Networking: Reaching Out To Younger Millennials - Executive Leadership Articles

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