Not In A Job Search? Keep Your Network Fresh Anyway
A lot of our recruiters have been through more than one economic downturn in their tenures. Each has offered lessons for job seekers. One lesson many people seemed to learn from this most recent downturn was the value of their network. Some people realized they had failed to proactively keep their network fresh and alive. Now, after the experience of seeking employment in an uncertain economy, they vowed never to let their networks grow stale again.
The economy is now getting better. Will candidates take their own excellent advice to grow their network? Will this be like most people’s New Year’s resolutions? Our advice is that you should work as hard as possible to grow your network so you can tap into its power and value during good times and bad.
Make Time for Networking
Most people give the same reasons for not keeping up their network. “Life is very busy. My calendar is full. I travel too much. My home life is hectic!” The best advice may be the most straightforward: carve out time for your professional networking! Your network is only as good as the time you are willing to devote to its creation and care.
Be a Thought Leader
Being a thought leader lets people know that you are active, motivated, inspired and have ideas and experiences to share. Vote on LinkedIn polls, create a Twitter account or a blog and share things that interest you. We are all well rounded; it is not all business all the time. Help people deepen their knowledge of you by getting to know your opinions, areas of interest (both personally and professionally), the causes you support, hobbies, etc. And while it’s important to be authentic, remember to be careful when expressing opinions about controversial subjects; a potential employer may be reading.
Take a Personal Inventory
Once you have decided to take the time to grow your network, a personal inventory is a great place to start. First, think back to your career. What meaningful relationships have you developed? List all of those people and reconnect with them professionally. Take a 360 degree approach considering your peers and those above and below you over time. Remember, some of the people you once managed may be hiring managers by now.
Meet New People
Web tools are great, but they can be a passive networking tool. Meeting new people face to face is a must. Attend networking events. You can find dedicated business networking venues or personal network venues like Meetup.com. The line between social and professional networking is constantly blurring, and you should start wherever you feel comfortable.