The well known “secret” to landing and maintain your dream job is to network. I would be naïve to say that pure talent is enough to succeed in this world.  Yes, one must be talented, but one must also be known to even be considered for job opportunity.  So how to we keep known?  How do we keep in the forefront of people’s minds?  That’s simple: we keep in touch individuals with our network.

Step 1: Establishing a network

We never know where a future opportunity may come from in the future.  It may be that a several years down the road a former colleague forwards an opportunity your way, a former boss moved to a new company and want you to join, or it may be a personal friend who forwards you a posting.  Franky you never know, but what common thread runs through all these examples? They are recommendation from people whom are in your network.

So how do we establish a network? This is really a unique question for each individual, but the simple answer is to be yourself and a network will naturally form.  When you are at the office, do hard work and you will be recognized for it.  Your boss and peers will recognize your unique talents.  If you enjoy teaching people, volunteer to train new hires or peers; they will remember how you help them.  If you work well in team, join a team at the office and work together on projects.  Congrats your network is growing!  It’s not just the office scene that matters when it comes to network; you family, your friends these all build into your network.  If you join a local sports team, you have expanded your network with your teammates.  Even a night out at the pub is an opportunity to build a network of connections.

All network connection may not be equal, but each person in your life presents a unique opportunity for the future.

Step 2: Nurture the connections

Now just because you are well known at the office or have build a group of friends at the local football club, does not mean the job is over.  Rather the hardest part has yet to come.  It is not enough simply to have a large group of acquaintances.  You must build individual relationships with each; some relationship may be close connection and other may be loose connections, but all connects need to be maintained at some level.

There are various ways to keep these connections active:

  1. Celebrating holidays – sharing you well wishes for someone’s birthday or holiday will help keep your connection active; however, dime a doze well wishes with little sincerity have little impact.  Try to put more effort than a simple Facebook post for happy birthday.
  2. Sharing information – passing along information about a project at work or even just sharing interesting articles with friends helps keep you connect.  If you tailor the item to that individual, they will be interested and have something to talk to you about.  This will not only keep active, but build your connection
  3. Showing appreciation – showing thanks for the value individuals have in your life can be a strong connector
  4. Simply Staying in touch – small check-ins keep your relationships warm.  These may be a simple as a “hey, long time no see” or impromptu chat.

While each of the above actions may be easy on their own.  It may be difficult to keeping track of all these relationships.  I personally struggle to maintain the connections in my life; so, I’ve used several tools to help me be better as this.

  1. Facebook – A quick trick is that you can view your entire friends list and it’s sorted by most active connections.  Those at the bottom of this likely haven’t been reached out to in some time.  You should consider to contact these people to keep that connection.
  2. LinkedIn – same basically as below; if you scroll all the way to the bottom of your chat; those are those whom you haven’t reached our to in a very long time.  Should you?
  3. Spreadsheet – I’ve generated a contract list spreadsheet to track all my contacts and added a column on my last reach out with them.   When, I see it’s been too long, it prompts me to reconnect.
  4. Use a personal CRM – I’ve recently discovered that a personal CRM (customer relationship management) software helps me remember when and whom to connect to.  I’ve been using Uphabit and it’s been meeting my needs quite well. 

Again, each relationship in your life will require different frequency and actions to keep active, but by keeping your network active, you open up possibilities in the future.

Step 3: Call on your connections

There will come a time when you need the support from a connection in your network.   This can be done passive or actively: 

In an active case, you may have an immediate need for support and thus may reach out directly to some of your connection.  An example where you may need to utilize this active approach, may be a loss of employment or trouble at the office.  In such a case, you are able to reach out to known contacts and seek their help for potential opportunities/solutions.  Since you have nurtured these relationships in genuine and honest way, your contact would be often willing to help you.

Your call to your network may also be passive.  Since you have demonstrated yourself a competent and known individual, your network may call on you.  Perhaps a former boss or colleague has moved to a new company and needs to build a new team.  Since you are actively in his/her mind, they may reach out to you for support.  This may present that dream opportunity that you always desired.

Related Posts