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Who’s in Your Network? Networking Tips for Young Professionals

Hillary Greene
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology-L.A.

Your last semester of school has ended and you are now entering the working world. You wanted to become a sport psychology practitioner, but you don’t know where to begin. You ask yourself, “How am I going to get a job in the field?” This question is common with many young professionals.

Networking is vital to success in many careers, including sport and exercise psychology. Getting to know people in your career field is very useful for professional development. Use networking opportunities to market your skills and to market yourself as a professional. Engage in conversations with other professionals and inform them of your accomplishments and goals. Exchange information with professionals by creating personal business cards. As a young professional in the field, I would like to provide you with some useful networking tips I learned along the way.

Find your Niche with the 3 P’s

One of the most influential conversations I had was with sport psychologist, Dr. Barbara Walker. She advised me to know what I wanted to do, stay focused on my career goal, and most importantly, to find my niche. Identify an interest area within the field of sport and exercise psychology; this will fuel your passion and guide you in the direction you need as a young professional.

Use the 3 P’s to help you find your niche. 

  1. Purpose: What do you want to do in the field?
  2. Persistent: Stay focused on your goal.
  3. Passion: Why are you working in the field?

Build your Network with the 5 W’s

Once you find your niche, develop a personal connection with people in your field.  These contacts will serve different roles to help you be successful. They will educate, advise, encourage, inspire, and motivate. There are many different ways to build your network, but a good way is via the 5 W’s.

Follow the 5 W’s to help you build a strong network.

  1. Who:  Past professors, colleagues, professionals, employers, athletes, etc.
  2. What:  Develop your networking contact list
  3. When: During your journey as a young professional in the sport and exercise field
  4. Where: School, conferences, and athletic venues, etc.
  5. Why:  Creating your network contact list will help you build the resources needed to guide you on your career path.

Stay Connected in 3 Steps

The last tip in building your network is to stay in contact with your network. Endless opportunities can present themselves through network connections.

Follow these 3 Steps to keep your network strong

Step 1: Make a personal connection with members in the field
Step 2: Develop a networking contact list
Step 3: Stay in contact by sending an email 3-4 times a year, setting up a lunch date at a conference, or keeping in touch through a phone call.

Summary: Who’s in Your Network? Networking Tips for Young Professionals
Use the tips to help you develop your network. Networking is a useful tool in your 
professional development. Best of luck making your connections and starting your career 
in sport and exercise psychology!