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Back by popular demand: Dora Grote explains why you need positive partners in your network to support college, career, and life decisions. This article originally appeared in the Kuder Blog on April 24, 2015.


Sometimes when you're deciding on a college, job, or making other career-related decisions, you can feel alone, overwhelmed, and isolated. You might feel like no one understands what you want or your needs.

Let's change that and talk about how you can build a network of positive partners in college, career, and life decisions.


Develop Positive Partners in College and Career Decisions

Building a network of people who want to help you and see you successful provides a positive influence that helps you get through difficult times and decisions.

By surrounding yourself with a group of people who have experience, insight, and perspective on success, you will create an inner circle of individuals whose opinions, experience, and perspective support your success.

There are five personalities to look for when building your network of positive partners. Some of these personalities and behaviors may be found in the same person, but each plays an important role in reaching your goals.


The Mentor

This person may have a position in your career field of interest or may have insight on your strengths and weaknesses, or both.

This individual shares the honest truth in an acceptable way to ensure that you stay on track while at the same time provides encouragement and positive feedback every step of the way. Typically, this person is a content or “subject matter” expert in your area of interest.


The Advisor

Typically this partner has knowledge and background in connecting you to resources and information to help make decisions. S/he can answer questions about colleges, applications, jobs, resumes, interviews, and scholarships as well as much more. This may be an expert you hire for short- or long-term help.

The advisor helps you build on action plan and stay on track to reach your goals. This partner holds you accountable for your actions and helps you work through barriers.


The Financial Guru

Partnering with a financial guru provides you with expertise about smart spending and financial literacy.

The financial guru can help you decide and plan for education, income, cost of living, and other financially related investments and advice. S/he will help you make better decisions now for a better future.


The Friend

This is the person who you can share frustrations, pitfalls, and celebrations. Everyone needs a friend to be real and share feelings that wouldn't be appropriate to share with other partners.

The friend is with you encouraging you through good and bad times and allows you to occasionally “vent” during difficult times without spiraling down a negative path.

This person helps motivate and support you both when times are tough and when times are smooth.


The Devil's Advocate

This is a partner whom you respect and engage to provide alternate points of view to problems. S/he helps you consider different perspectives and approaches to problems and situations.

You might not always like what the devil's advocate shares, but the information is invaluable to making effective decisions and actions.


As you gather together your positive partner network, there are a couple of important things to remember.

First, don't be afraid to talk to someone new and network with others to find the experts and roles you need to be successful. Second, don't be afraid to “fire” a partner if there is cynicism, negativity, or selfishness.

Although every partnership has two sides, your partner network should know your intentions and be willing to help you in a positive and productive way; anything less is damaging and can set you back.

In summary, there are people out there that care about your success. Take the time to find and engage the right mix of people to partner with you and become part of your network.

The most successful people use mentors and resources to help them succeed. And in the cyclical nature of life, you may play a positive partner on someone else's network, too.


Need the help of a pro to serve as your advisor and help you set and achieve your education and career goals? Get personalized, qualified support from a Kuder® Coach™.


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