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Throughout his career in a skilled trade industry, a technical training manager with Faith Technologies has worked with and met a lot of different people. As the days pass and the years fly by, the cast of characters he has come to know and work alongside grew and grew. Never have he, during this journey, gained so many long-lasting contacts, coaches, friends and mentors than he did while in the early years as an apprentice.

Professional networking was never a priority for him as an apprentice. How could it be? With all the work to be done, deadlines to meet, learning to do and supervisors to impress—it’s no wonder that discussions of networking at such an early part of one’s career aren’t commonplace.

Here is four pieces of advice for any apprentices wondering how to start or where to look for potential networking opportunities. As he looked back at them, he realized that this may be good advice for all in the industry to be reminded of, no matter where we they in their careers.

Humility

It’s important to people to open their minds and be willing to learn from everybody. They should treat everyone they meet as if they have a secret expertise and their objective is to learn what it is. Whether those people are their supervisor, fellow apprentice or a brand-new employee, never let status, rank or seniority get in the way of the capacity to grow and learn something new. People may be surprised what kinds of valuable skills can be found in the most unassuming of characters.

Seek superiors

Expertise and highly proficient people might be intimidating, but find ways to work closer to them. When possible, people should surround themselves with experts and be servant minded. The goal isn’t to impress them with aptitude and ambition, but to listen and focus. Find ways to insert yourself into their processes while still being useful to them and sponge up as much as possible. Whether it’s for technical expertise or leadership skills, seek superiors and take notes.

Respect experience

Mistakes made and lessons learned are the most important ingredients that build experience. A seasoned craftsman with a toolbox full of well-worn tools is also likely to have a mind full of valuable lessons and stories to share. Respect that experience, and respect what has been earned and sacrificed for that individual to be standing there today. Their credentials and accomplishments are a glimpse of what others can achieve in their own careers, so take a good look and hear what they have to say.

Don’t burn bridges

Hopefully this is simple advice for all of us to take. Everyone a person meets, every contact they make and every person they work alongside is a relationship formed. These relationships all start out very simple and a lot of them conclude that way as well, but some grow into incredible career-spanning relationships. People don’t always know what that relationship will become. Today a person may be introduced to somebody who becomes his or her supervisor in five years, or perhaps he or she become theirs. Treat all relationships with potential inherent value.

Click here to read the original blog post by Faith Technologies.

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