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Monday, September 29, 2014

4 Simple Ways to Give Back to Your Network

person reaching out to anotherI graduated from college in 2009 in the middle of the financial crisis. At that difficult time for the US economy and my career, there were managers and coworkers that took the time to mentor, provide encouragement and give me a chance. I could not find a full time job by graduation, but was lucky enough to get an internship that summer with Adobe. I learned a lot that summer, but had to keep looking for a full time job because of a hiring freeze. Following the guidance of many mentors, I was able to leverage that internship experience to get a full-time job at Salesforce. Often, I think back on the many people in my professional network that have helped me along the way and are still a part of my evolving career. This got me thinking about what are some of the small things that anyone can do to give back and show appreciation to those in our professional networks. Here are a few ideas that can all take less than 5 minutes.

Respond to an email you forgot about. Maybe someone reached out asking for an introduction, a reference check or perhaps it was a student wanting to learn more about your company. Take 5 minutes right now, write them back and make their day.

Lend your network. Amplify the message of someone in your network by liking or sharing their post on LinkedIn. It could help someone in your network find their next hire or gain a new customer. If the post is great, share the love.

Send a note of appreciation. It does not have to be long, just heartfelt. Handwritten is best, but an email is nice too.

Share a post you know your network will love. Not just some post with a great headline, but something that is truly thoughtful or inspiring. Take a few minutes and really think about what content would resonate most with the people in your network.

I challenge you to take a few minutes today to find a way to give back to your network. If you can think of other great ideas, please share them in the comments.

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