Top 10 People You Must Have In Your Network To Find A Job


So, you know it is important to have the two Q’s as you build out your network: quality and quantity. But have you considered the importance of having a well-rounded network?

In this labor market, having a strong network is critical to your professional survival. There are plenty of tips and articles on where to find people, how and when to connect to them and even what you need to say to attract and maintain your network. This article focuses on WHO should be in your network.

Here are the top 10 people that should be in your network:

1. The Mentor

This is the person who has reached the level of success you aspire to have. You can learn from their success as well as their mistakes. Heed their wisdom and experience. This relationship offers a unique perspective because they have known you through several peaks and valleys in your life and watched you evolve.

2. The Coach

The coach is someone who comes in at different times in your life. They help with critical decisions and transitions and offer an objective perspective with no strings attached.

3. The Industry Insider

This is someone in your chosen field who has expert level information or access to it. This person will keep you informed of what’s happening now and what the next big thing is. Invite them to be a sounding board for your next innovative idea.

4. The Trendsetter

This is someone outside of your chosen industry that always has the latest buzz. It can be on any topic you find interesting. The goal in having this person in your network is to look for those connections that spark innovation via the unconventional. It will also help you keep your conversations interesting.

5. The Connector

This is a person who has access to people, resources and information. As soon as they come across something related to you, they are sending you an e-mail or picking up the phone. Connectors are great at uncovering unique ways to make connections, finding resources and opportunities most people would over look.

6. The Idealist

This is the person in your network you can dream with. No matter how “out there” your latest idea is, this is the person that will help you brainstorm ways to make it happen. Without judgment, they are focused on helping you flush out your dreams in high definition, even if you don’t have a solid plan yet on how to make it happen.

7. The Realist

On the flip side you still need the person who will help you keep it real. This is the person who will give you the raised eyebrow when your expectations exceed your effort. These are not people who knock down your dreams, rather they challenge you to actively make your dream happen.

8. The Visionary

Visionary people inspire you by their journey. They are similar to the Idealist, but the visionary can help you envision an actual plan to reach your goal. One personal encounter with this type of person can powerfully change the direction of your thinking and life.

9. The Partner

You need to have someone who is in a similar place and on a similar path to share with. In fact, partners do a lot of sharing. This is a person you can share the wins and woes with. Partners will also share resources, opportunities and information.

10. The Wanna-Be

This is someone you can serve as mentor to. Someone you can help shape and guide based on your experiences. One of the best ways to tell you understand something is to be able to explain it to someone else. And sometimes, one of the best motivators for pushing through obstacles and hardship is knowing someone is watching.

Obviously you will want to have more than 10 people in your network. The trick is to make sure you are building a diverse network by adding people from different industries, backgrounds, age groups, ethnic groups, and so on… that fit into the roles listed above. Building a deep network by only including people from your current profession or business focus leaves too many stones unturned, limiting potential opportunities.

Serious about building a strong professional network that can actually provide the leverage you need to make progress at work? Evaluate your current network and get started filling in the gaps.

Happy networking!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tai Goodwin

Passionate about helping people grow, Tai Goodwin has a keen intuition on helping people tap into their brilliance. She has been empowering others for over 19 years.


  1. I would say the best thing to do is to get to know people in your community personally outside of online networking. LinkedIn will not let you invite someone to connect unless you know them somehow or have their email. This is because people are tired to total strangers wanting to connect with them. As more and more people are thrown out of work and are on LinkedIn seeking connections, the more this is so. A lot of professional people are writing articles saying they don’t want to connect with anyone unless they already know them.

  2. Fabulous article, thank you.

    I guess I am fortunate to have people on my team with those qualities and strengths who are will to share their knowledge.

    I’d be happy to connect with you, learn what you do or are seeking and share connections.

    Warm regards

    • Ten People You Must Have In Your Network To Find A Job – Is an excellent list describing what I have intuitively accomplished in my network with my “connections” to date. This is a great guideline to utlilize as I continue to build my network. Thanks, Tai

  3. Nice hints, but what should I do, if almost no one of these characters are in any social online network like LinkedIn? I connect to them on a daily job basis, but when it comes to online connections, they opt out. So now I’m wondering about how to find “replacments” if I should replace them at all.

  4. I think it’s probably best to network with people that are successful. If you do that – that increases the chances you are going to be successful.

  5. All through my life, whenever I had thought I knew any one of these, I wind up at the front of the stampede, and thirty people have trampled me into road hash. Then there is the seeming opinion I have found in the asking, that there is an “anyone but me,” to coach, mentor, connect, or associate with in any way. It is not that I do not try, but I am so far outside, when and where do I even meet the insiders, the idealists, the realists? Then there is trying to “follow the crowd”, but then all the entry slots are all taken by people I KNOW are only better at getting attention than I am. What do I have to do? Set myself on fire?

    It would be great if whenever I try to network I am remotely taken seriously, but those whose positions might move me even one step closer rush to help twenty others whose “dreams” sound “SMARTER.” All I have in my network are the same bottom-dwellers as I am, or worse. What help can they be if they are complaisant with their place in society? Who to meet? HOW? And how to impress them just enough to not turn them off?

    It is great to hear who I need to associate with. It is better to tell me where and how? The people I admire have networks that I have no access to. No one I know on my social networks is in a place or position to help me. Laugh? Plenty. Help? Not so much.

    “The fellow who can see weeks ahead (“SMART”) is always a very popular fellow, for he is always looking with the crowd. The one who can see years ahead (“INTELLIGENT”), he has a telescope, but he cannot convince anyone he has it. (Will Rogers) I think I am more “intelligent”than “smart”.

  6. Mitch Darnell, MS, OSM

    Great, vital points and article! Thank you for sharing, Cari!

    I am the “Networker,” actively finding connections for people. But very much lack ANY of those on the list to help my business! I can’t figure out how to make these connections. I go to events & chat it up, but don’t know how to enroll others in support of my goals…

    Ideas, anyone?!

  7. Super article. In this revolution we’re living in, I’m sure we need friends/buddies/colleagues with these character traits.

    Great stuff!

  8. This is great advice. I think I should have two Idealist and two Realists in my network because my goals tend to swing from physically impossible to overly modest.

  9. Very insightful and informative article! I really liked how you broke down the benefits of having someone in each category-you could even call it “Strategic Networking.”


  10. Nice article! The key thing i guess is we always have to be networking to identify key people in the industry who can help with our career. I also believe in paying it forward. Help somebody else with their career. Mysteriously, you will have always find help when you need it.

  11. This article is a great way to think about how to bring form and function to your networking efforts. I found it helpful and thought provoking.

  12. Of course they are all important. But depending on your personality one of these could stand out above the rest. Often, because people are new to networking, this can be the connector. Find your connector and your network will expand more rapidly and hopefully more genuinely than you might expect!

  13. Great article. It was to networking what Roger Van Oech's book “A Kick In The Seat Of the Pants” is to the creative process. You need people playing all these different roles. And logically you should play some or all of them for others.

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