How Do I Form a Young Professional Network?

Sheri Cyprus

In many cases, you can begin to form a young professional network by going to your community's chamber of commerce or similar organization with a focus on business development in your area. Seeking out likely members to give you input into what your network will ultimately be is another good idea. You should also research other professional networks and decide what your group will offer members and strive toward achieving.

Check with local chambers of commerce and other groups focused on business development through networking.
Check with local chambers of commerce and other groups focused on business development through networking.

For instance, you may want to emphasize career advancement as well as development. This can be a key concern of potential members who are in their first full-time, entry-level professional job after finishing school. Career advancement and development are also likely to be important issues for young professionals who want to move up into the management side of their industry. While age ranges for a young professional network can vary, you may want to have your group at an 18-35 level so as to include a wide demographic of people at different career levels.

If you lower the maximum age of your network to 25 or 30, younger members of your group may miss out on valuable advice from the older ones who may have already advanced from entry-level to higher job positions. A good way to think of the purpose of your young professional network is that each member has a valuable background and something to share with others, whether he or she has achieved several promotions or is fresh out of school looking for that first full-time job. Members who have been out of college or university for some time may be considering going back for career upgrading and could be interested in hearing about current education practices and opportunities from recent students.

Meeting with a chamber of commerce or similar representative may help align you with possible guest speakers from your local business community. In this way, you can attract more members to your young professional network as you can place announcements and posters about the speaking events in places where these people are likely to go. Supermarket and laundry bulletin boards, cafe windows and local libraries are all locations that may work if you have a color flier announcing the event and the name of your network.

Don't be afraid to approach likely members personally by being polite and handing out a flier or brochure about your group. Using social network systems online may also be a good idea, if these are used by young professionals. Keeping in communication with group members through email as well as telephone can be a great way to save you time, as you'll be able to send one message to everyone in your young professional network at once rather than calling members individually.

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