Savvy job hunters incorporate both online and offline networks into their strategy. They attend events and participate in webinars. They arrange informational interviews and interact with alumni, all as a means of networking with as many contacts as possible. Yet once hired, their focus shifts to their new role. While this is natural and important, they may tend to overlook their professional networks. What they’re forgetting is that they still need them – and always will.
Your network is your key to the hidden job market. The beauty of your established contact base is that as you advance your career, so will many others. You’ll move up the career ladder together and help each other along the way. Networking is not only a search tool, but also a key factor in enhancing your long-term job security and professional stature.
Individuals with strong networks are seen as more valuable because they’re professionally active and well connected. In a recent survey, 60 percent of CFOs said business growth was the primary purpose of their networking activities. This compares with 10 percent who said their top goal was looking for a job.
Leverage Your Network
The most successful professionals know how to leverage their network of contacts. Building and maintaining these relationships while you’re working will make the next job search – whether it’s yours or someone else’s – more effective.
- Keep it growing. Consciously try to meet new people both within and outside your company. Make at least one networking contact per week with someone you met during your job search campaign. Find out how they’re doing and see if there’s anything you can do for them. Share news and insight.
- Stay active in your professional organization. Remember the cardinal rule of networking: Do it all the time, not just when you need it. Participate on committees, boards and task forces. Attend workshops and conferences. If you can’t be as active as you were in the past, look for new ways to contribute, such as delivering a presentation or writing an article for a chapter newsletter.
- Keep your online presence up to date. Virtual networking can be done at any time, so there’s no good reason not to maintain your active online brand. Go beyond having a LinkedIn profile. Stay engaged with your network by posting articles and reviews and contributing to conversations. Portray yourself as an expert while building your professional visibility.
- Pass it on. Now that you’ve landed a coveted position, help others who’ve helped you. Use your new role to become an even more valuable contact within your network. Help others by being their eyes and ears in the industry. Pass on leads, referrals and other meaningful business developments – without violating any confidentiality expectations, of course.
When you land your dream job, you may think your networking days are over. On the contrary, they’ve only just begun. The best is yet to come, as you grow in your career and play an active, dynamic role in helping others to do the same.
Consider working with an executive search consultant who specializes in your field as you take your professional career to the next level. To learn more, read our related posts or contact the recruiting team at BrainWorks today.