Maintaining and Building Your Network
For many, the idea of maintaining and, in fact, building their network of professional career building contacts becomes lost in the day-to-day shuffle of work. Once again, this is largely because of a lack of long-term career objectives or, at a minimum, objectives being placed on the back burner while handling the tasks of the present.
However, for a career to thrive, you must maintain your professional contacts while on the job. In addition, this is the area where contacts should grow most quickly. This is true for several reasons. One of the most obvious is the sudden loss of employment because of downsizing, a company move, a purchase, or a merger.
Whatever the reason, you will be crippled in your subsequent job search if you have failed to maintain your network. Maintaining your network is critical if for no other reason than to provide you with a readily available list of professional contacts should your employment situation suddenly change.
However, following are some other equally compelling reasons:
- Ease of networking— Building your list while you're on the job is much simpler than during the job search. Rather than having to go out of your way to seek out contacts to add to your list, your normal course of working can put you in front of dozens if not hundreds of people who extend your sphere of influence.
- You're a known commodity— Those with whom you come in contact will have first-hand experience as to how you work or perform. They will become your most compelling referrals. This, of course, assumes that you have performed well.
While you're on the job, you will work with many different people on various projects. Make it a point to introduce yourself to everyone. Grab a business card and write additional notes about that person on the card. Make sure you leave that person with a card, too.