If you’ve been reading much on this site or reading virtually any other job search advice, you know that networking is critical to landing a new job. However, most people only begin building a network once they are unemployed. Better late than never. Networking can be far more effective, though, if you have an extensive address book of professional contacts that you’ve been building over time.
Begin building your network as soon as you realize it’s value, but don’t stop once you get a new job!
In the new-normal for a career, you will likely be looking for a new job again someday. ‘Lifetime’ jobs are virtually non-existent anymore. In order to make your transitions as smooth as possible and for you to have more options, keep building the size and quality of your professional network. How do you do that?
- Make networking a lifestyle, not an event
- Get to know co-workers, vendors, customers, people in other departments
- Attend industry networking events, trade shows, user groups, and professional associations
- Always collect business cards
- Keep in touch: call to say Hi, send birthday or anniversary cards, send Thank You’s
- Send articles acknowledging news about their company, hobby, accomplishments, etc.
- Always ask who else your contacts know that are good to connect to as well
- Ask them regularly how you can be of help to them
- Be open to accepting networking calls from others
- Eat in the cafeteria and get to know people rather having lunch alone at your desk
- Always be friendly and upbeat – no one likes hanging around a grouch
- Treat networking as if your career depends on it… because it does!
- Keep good records of everyone you meet and notes of your conversations
- Schedule times for the next time you will touch base with each contact
Sound like work? It is.
Will your life change? Yes.
Will your career and your next job search benefit? Infinitely!
Dig your well before you’re thirsty and you'll be glad you did!