Life is all about connections. The more people you know, the better your chances of getting ahead. It’s super important to grow your network. Some people say that your professional connections are the most important part of the job search.
Professional connections are people you meet, know, or are introduced to. You can’t add Lady GaGa to your professional network via Facebook just because you like her music. You can’t buy connections on Ebay or randomly email people you’ve never met. Becoming a super connector means that you have to make your own connections. It’s an ongoing task, but you can do it.
Building and maintaining a network should be at the top of your priority list. It takes hard work, socializing, and continuous work. You have to meet and stay in touch with your network so they know what you are up to and what types of jobs you are seeking. If you can help someone else, it’s bound to come back and help you in the future. People want to help people who help them.
When you meet people, be sure to trade business cards and leave a positive, lasting impression. Follow up with people immediately so that you can remind them of who you are and how your new relationship can be mutually beneficial.
Are you wondering where you can start to create your network of professional connections?
- Family – All of your family members know you well. They most likely want you to be successful and are keen to help you get ahead in the job hunt.
- Professional Organizations – Are you a member? You should be a member of many groups. This is one of the best places to meet people who are in your niche.
- Past and Present Co-Workers – Over the years you meet lots of people in lots of different jobs. Everyone takes a different career path and moves to different places. Can you get in touch with these people?
- Friends – The people you hang out with are invaluable. Everyone wants to help a friend in job search need. Get in touch with the guy you play squash with, your surf partner, or the lady at the gym.
- Alumni – How many people went to your high school? College? Those people were a major influence on your life and are now scattered all over the globe. When was the last time you contacted them.
Look up everyone you know on LinkedIn. Write them a personal note to refresh their memory on what you’ve been doing. LinkedIn is a fantastic resource to organize and maintain your professional network. Thank you technology! If you’re not a member, become one today.
Remember one of the biggest networking rules: You have to help others before they will help you. Give before you get. People aren’t going to go out of their way to give you a job lead or write a reference unless they think you deserve it.
Here’s a good networking goal: Try to add at least 4 professional connections each week AND try to stay in touch with 4 others. It’s time consuming, but totally worth it. Good luck.