Getting started in a new profession can be a daunting task. You’re learning how to navigate an entirely new space while you’re fresh out of school, and you’re also still trying to find how you fit into your new world.
If you want to set yourself for professional success, the best thing you can do is work on your support system.
When some people hear the word support system, they may not know what it means. In truth, many of us already have support systems. We just don’t know it yet.
If you want to learn a bit more about support systems, you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to give you a rundown of what a support system is, how it benefits you, and what you can do to start building one today.
What Is a Support System?
Simply put, a support system is made up of people who can give you support, respect, and care in life. It goes beyond simply having friends. A support system is a sprawling network of people you can rely on for a variety of reasons.
A friend can undoubtedly be a part of your support system, but they’re far from the only factor. Professional contact or acquaintance can be a part of a healthy support system. So can family or even a romantic partner.
In a professional sense, your support system can play an essential role in your career growth. The right support system can help you find new opportunities and connect with influential people.
Why Do I Need a Support System?
Some of you may be wondering why support systems are essential. The truth is that support systems can help you in every facet of life!
Whether you want to work on your career or improve your personal life, a support system can help. Here are just a few of the reasons why support systems are incredibly helpful.
Whether you want to land a new job or explore different career paths, building a reliable support system is essential.
When it comes to the job search, it truly is about who you know. When you spend time building a support system, you have many people you can reach out to about potential jobs.
You never know who will have connections to people you may want to know. A student you meet in class may have a close relationship with your dream company’s hiring manager. Your workout partner may have some great connections in your industry.
Improve Mental Health
Humans are naturally social creatures. Even some of the most introverted people still need friends or loved ones to help them throughout life.
Isolation can have a lot of negative effects on people. People who don’t have a good support system may turn to substance abuse to cope with loneliness. Others may experience more severe symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety or depression.
Support and social contact can’t cure problems, but they can certainly help them. That’s why it’s crucial to build a network now so you’ll have the support you need in trying times.
Open Yourself Up to New Things
You never know what can come from a reliable support network. The people you bring into your inner circle could end up enriching your life in ways you never thought possible.
The work acquaintance you know may have a daughter that goes to the same school as your son and needs a friend. Someone you meet in the classroom could give you a brand new hobby or interest.
This is why having a reliable support network is so crucial for people. Surrounding yourself with the right people can open you up to more opportunities than you could imagine.
How to Build Your Support System
Now that you see how a support system can help you throughout your life, it’s time to start forming one of your own.
We do want to note that there is no one definitive way to build your support system. People have different needs, and you should consider that before you set out to create your network of supportive people.
There may not be one right way to do things, but we know of several tips that can help you along the way! If you’re serious about building your support network, make sure you follow these essential tips.
Think About What You Want
It’s essential to think about what you want to get out of your support system before you start building it. When you know what outcome you want to have, it’s a lot easier to find the right people to help you build your network.
When you think about your support system, what’s the one thing you want everyone to do?
Some people want to build a network of mentors they can rely on for advice and help in the job market. These people may be older and have much more experience than you.
Other people may want the exact opposite and want to surround themselves with new professionals like themselves. They want to find people they can commiserate with and exchange helpful advice to find their ways in the professional world.
You may find that you want a mix of things or that you have one clear goal. Regardless of what you want, be clear about the outcome you want to achieve.
Examine Your Existing Network
Did you know that your brother in law is friends with the IT manager at the company you want to work for? Does your best friend attend happy hours with people in your industry?
If you want to build a reliable support system, look no further than who you already have around you! When you build your support system, you should try to seek out new people, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard people you already know.
Be vocal about what you want to achieve and that you wish to help from people you trust. Some of your friends and relatives may not know your current goals. That’s why it’s a good idea to be upfront about what you want.
Remember, your existing network isn’t supposed to stay static. These aren’t just people you can rely on for support. They know plenty of other people that have the potential to support you too!
Attend Professional Events
Since we’re talking about support from a professional standpoint, we can’t stress the importance of attending industry events enough.
Once you have an idea of what you want to get out of your support network, you can start going to events to find the people you want to connect with. Professional conferences, meet up events, and happy hours are great ways to find people to build your support system.
Even if you can’t attend in-person events, you can attend plenty of virtual events to meet people. If you’re anxious in groups, virtual events may be the best way for you to find a low-pressure way to connect with others.
It would be nice if the people we currently surround ourselves with were always supportive and positive. Unfortunately, plenty of people are surrounded by toxic influences that can undermine their overall goal of finding support.
You may have a friend that makes a snarky comment every time you mention what you’re doing in school to switch careers. There may be a co-worker that thought getting an associate’s degree would be pointless. In some cases, you may even be getting negativity from family members.
Support networks are designed to build people up and support them, not cut them down and make them second guess their hard work. If you want to form a good support network, take some time to cut out the people that don’t have your best interests in mind.
Don’t go to negative people for advice, support, or even good news when you’re focused on your success. They won’t be able to give you the support you need and deserve.
Build Your Bright Future
A support system is critical when you’re starting a new career path. The people you surround yourself with can help you find new opportunities or simply be friends during your time of need.
Don’t wait until you graduate. Start building those connections now to have a reliable support system when you’re ready to start your job search!
Do you have more questions about things you should be doing to help yourself professionally? We have a lot of helpful content on our blog, so be sure to start there.
We’re also always open to having a conversation with anyone that wants to use education to further their career. Be sure to contact us today to discuss the best way to help you grow professionally.