Network While You are Employed to Build Social Capital

network while employedWhen I left the corporate world 20 some years ago, building a network at your place of employment was not the way of life it is today. Or is it?

I am still amazed at the number of corporate people who contact me with “help” as one of their first words. They have been in the same job for 8-10 years or more and while they haven’t been given a pink slip, they are beginning to feel uneasy. And they have not taken the time to build a substantial network.

Cradle-to-grave job security is a thing of the past. Plus a huge percentage of the good jobs never hit the public market. They are filled by someone who knows someone who fits the bill. The goal is to be that someone. Here’s how to get started:

Soul Search

  • If you were to change jobs, what would you like to do … the same or different responsibilities?
  • Would you move geographically?
  • Would you accept the same amount of money? Less?
  • What are your future aspirations … to be an employee, manager, president?
  • How much longer do you feasibly have to climb the ladder? Is age a hindrance?
  • Do you want to do your own thing?

After soul-searching, it’s time to:

  • Attend trade shows. One of my favorites because most people have more time to talk, especially when on “booth duty.” Also plan to “catch” one or two of the executives after they finish keynote addresses. I know it works because I use to do executive support in my days at AT&T and would field requests like that for vice presidents or help people who just “stopped by.”
  • Join a horizontal (within your industry) professional organization.
  • Join a vertical (same profession) organization.
  • Become involved in the groups. Committee work shortens the time it takes to build relationships.
  • Offer to speak (overcome the number one fear!) for no fee to groups whose membership is comprised of companies for which you want to work.
  • Reconnect with people who left your company, this time for the purpose of building solid relationships.
  • Strengthen relationships at your place of employment.
  • And … don’t let this happen again!

To learn more, read Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last.

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