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More and more, we need to be connected to a network of resources for mutual benefit and growth.

Tom Peters says, "It's loyalty to peers in your industry and not to a hierarchy. You have to develop a Rolodex obsession, building and deliberately managing an ever-growing network of professional contacts."

And although you need these contacts to support your success, the approach to building a valuable network involves giving—not taking. The more you give to your network colleagues, the more they will be there when you truly need them.

You need to be networking continuously. According to Keith Ferrazzi, one of the world's most connected individuals and youngest-ever Chief Marketing Officer, "When someone comes to me for advice on how to build a network because they need a job now, I tell them it's useless. People can tell the difference between desperation and an earnest attempt to create a relationship."

When you approach networking from the perspective of giving, you build long-lasting relationships. People like people who look out for them. One key to success is to go through your mental Rolodex every time you meet someone new, thinking about whom they should meet and how you could add value by connecting them to others in your network.

Be a leader among your peers

Taking a leadership role in a professional organization is a great way to connect with likeminded professionals. Do you belong to the AMA or Chartered Institute of Marketing? Do you contact authors of marketing articles you find insightful? Do you belong to a virtual network like linkedin? Are you a contributor to MarketingProf's Know-How Exchange? Do you connect with your marketing colleagues in your industry?

Remember, taking a leadership role in one or two associations is much more valuable than just being a member in several. Having a leadership position increases your visibility among all members and gives you the mandate to connect with them. It also gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your unique promise of value and your leadership skills.

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image of William Arruda

William Arruda is a personal branding pioneer, the founder and CEO of Reach Personal Branding, and the author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.

Twitter: @williamarruda

LinkedIn: William Arruda