Ask the question: What are some of the professional resources you’ll want from your network? Jobs, workers, answers to questions, training, tools expertise,
3 minutes5 minutesAt one of my companies we had an incredible receptionist. He was probably the best dressed non-executive in the company. And he needed to be since every single client that came to us saw him. He had an incredibly positive attitude, was a joy to be around, and, most importantly, knew every single person in our local office. If you want a direct link to your local Vice President, your receptionist can be a great asset. So don’t discount them. I can also assure you that while I have forgotten some of the other colleagues I barely interacted with in that company, Douglas is firmly ingrained in my mind permanently. And I know that goes for everyone who interacted with him.
3. 2 minutes4. 3 minutesWe’ll talk more later about how to reach them.
You know Amy, Jane, Bill and Ankur. In turn, each of them has a list of contacts, who has a list of contacts, and so on. If your goal is to reach a position that requires help from the Vice President, then you need to find the link that will get you there. Amy has that link. So you network with Amy to meet her boss. Then network with her boss to meet the VP.
Sometimes you might find that where you want to go is not within your network’s reach-Yet. So it’s time to be brave. It’s been traditional for years to send a resume without knowing the person. That’s a start, but with sometime as many as 600 or more other resumes on a desk, yours might not get noticed. Take it a step further and call-or send an invitation to lunch or an event. Invite this person to get to know you, even outside of the context of a job. Ask if you can simply talk to the person about their work. Offer that it doesn’t have to pertain to a position at all. If you know you eventually want to work there, you will be willing to wait until an opening is there, so don’t press it. Call and ask for a lunch.
These exposures get your name ingrained in your contacts’ brains. They get to know you and they remember you as “the person who…”. Over time they will think of you first when certain topics arise and they will turn to you as a guru. This kind of regular maintenance is essential to networking. Local gatherings are great for just getting to know someone. When you can have this kind of contact face to face the “ingraining process” can go much quicker. The rapport is built faster and stronger. You can treat this like a partially social event, but also pick your contacts’ brains about work and let them do the same to you.
How do we do this networking? Social media sites are good, but don’t rely on them completely. Not all your contacts will check them regularly and you want to make sure that you are truly in touch. Make a point of using your phone or a personal email regularly to contact them on a personal, direct level.
Why are we all in the network? To get something out of it. You’ve heard “you get out what you put in.” Well, here’s your chance. When someone asks a question you can answer on a forum, answer it. When someone needs to fill a position and you know someone who can do it, pass it on and make sure both ends know you’re involved. When you need to fill a position, post it to your network. This is feeding the network. The more you help others, the more they help you. For example, I helped a colleague this way one time. When I received a call from a pediatric medical office that needed a writer, I knew that I personally could not fill that need. It’s out of my expertise. I also knew that I had no personal contacts that could fill it. I did know that one of my local network members has a staffing agency and probably knew someone that could fill it in. So I took down the contact information for the office and offered to contact my colleague for them. By making this contact myself I made sure both parties knew I was the one that connected them. In the future, they’ll remember that. The office got what they needed and my network colleague was able to place an unemployed medical writer in that position, helping them both out. Later on, when my husband had been laid off, my network colleague was able to find a position for him to fill in. So, as I said, feed the network and it will help you.
For every position you have listed, expand that list of colleague contacts by 5. You might have to really search or put some serious effort into finding some of those former colleagues, but it is worth the effort! Contact the colleagues you have on your list and arrange a lunch or meet-up with them. Do it here, do it at home, or do it online. But do it within one week. So get home from the conference and by Friday you should be contacting people and have it scheduled by next Monday. It should take place within a week after that. Why so quick? Because if you put it off you won’t do it. Not everyone will make it, but everyone will want to make it. So it becomes regular.
Building Your Professional Network-Beyond the Social Media Maze
BUILDING YOUR PROFESSIONAL NETWORK FROM
THEGROUND UP Today we will learn how to: • Create a professional network • Expand the network • Maintain the network • Feed the network • Harvest from the network
WHAT IS A NETWORK?• Collection
of collaborating colleagues?• People who power your professional purpose?• A power group of professionals, connected by various types of contacts, that work together to help each other?• Dictionary.com: “an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like”
PURPOSE OF A NETWORKVerb: “to
cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position.”Find professional resources
WHERE TO START1. List each
Note: Every professional or colleague for these student position positions is you have held in important. Whether your field, the person is a including manager, a volunteer or coworker, or a society offices. receptionist, they2. List the can be a valuable colleagues with asset in your whom you are network. currently in contact with for each position.
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM3. Where
would Note: Do not beyou like to see shy about who youyour career in 5 list here! Includeyears? people you have4. List the people never met inin your community person, if needed.who are close to You have to reachthat goal or have high to climb thatthe power to help ladder!you reach it. (Link-ups)
GET READY TO COOK5. List
Your Topics of Expertise• Tools• Techniques• Topic expertise• Service expertise• Contacts with expertise
HOW ARE YOU NETWORKING?6. List
Your Current Note: It’s important to Methods of make sure you are Exposure aware of every• Email lists method of exposure you are using. Each• Networking sites one needs to be (LinkedIn, etc.) maintained regularly.• Professional forums• Networking meetings• Resume sites• Teaching workshops or classes
NETWORK MAINTENANCE• Interact regularly-on sites,
in email, on the phone• Regular chatter, answer questions, ask questions• Regular updates that showcase your professional expertise• Gather with local contacts regularly in person-meetings or lunches
NETWORKING LUNCHT H E C
O N TA C T Y O U THE CONTACT YOU DON’T KNOWKNOW• Arrange regular • Invite them to a one-on- lunches with local one with you or as a contacts speaker to a group• Invite a large event such as a regular enough group that networking meeting absences aren’t a • Have questions ready problem about their work• Rotate who brings • Always send a physical the main topic of thank you note and discussion email• Rotate locations • Follow up with a phone call to repeat with a one- on-one again
FEED THE NETWORK• Answer questions
from contacts• When someone needs a professional need filled, help them• Post your professional needs to your contacts, particularly jobs• Always say thank you
HARVESTING FROM THE NETWORKWhy are
we in the network?To harvest! Jobs, work, resourcesWhen you are in need, contact your network firstA well-fed network will get to work for you.
ACTION PLAN1. Build on your
list of colleagues2. Meet up with your contacts3. Contact your link-up contacts that can help you reach your goals. Ask one or more of them to be your mentor.4. Review all of your current methods of exposure for outdated information.5. Get your name out with your expertise.6. Start feeding the network!