Effective networking requires a strategy. You need to first defined what are your networking Goal Priority and Strategy (GPS) is.
1. Schedule a regular time each week to network. We all get busy, even when unemployed. (Those “honey-do” lists seem to grow.) By scheduling regular time in your calendar to network, it not only gets done, but you’ll feel more confident and comfortable in networking situations, avoid the hermit syndrome, and meet people who want to help you. Know that people want to help you and see you succeed.
2. Schedule 10 minutes each day to use social media, including providing status updates, relevant links that demonstrate your thought leadership, and quick emails to those who’ve updated their statuses with wins. For example, if you read your LinkedIn updates and a friend has landed a new position, send her a brief congratulatory note.
3. Determine which offline, in-person groups you will join and how often they meet. Take an active role in the organization, such serving as the chapter ambassador. This helps you meet more people and overcome some of the jitters of being in a new group.
4. Set networking goals for yourself. For example, when attending a new group, set a goal to meet three new people. Write this goal in your calendar where you’ve scheduled the meeting.
5. Prepare and rehearse your sound bite. Networking can take place any time, any where. Be prepared.
6. Update your network regularly with the action steps you’ve taken. If a friend referred you to a contact and you set up an informational interview, let your friend know that you made the connection and got results.
Make your job search your new full-time job. Scheduling networking activities will not only help you feel more productive, but help you land your next job much, much faster.
Who do you know already?
How do you know when you are being successful?
Types of networks There are 3 types of networks (Uzzi and Dunlap 2005): operational, personal and strategic.
Operational networks Operational networks include direct reports, superiors, people with the power to block or support a project, and key outsiders such as suppliers, distributors and customers. Personal networks
Personal networks can provide important referrals, and people who can offer information and often developmental support, such as coaching and mentoring.
Strategic networks Strategic networks provide opportunities to look at the bigger picture through mentoring, or simply give a different perspective on your organization. All types of networking overlap, but strategic networking will provide the most immediate impact on your organization. You should always look to expand your network as opportunities can be accidental. What makes a social network so powerful is its referral potential, which can expand your network.
Pam Minor Consults' mission is to empower smaller and midsize businesses in government contracting by leveraging our 30 plus years of experience and knowledge of the government contracting industry.
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