Networking: Not Just For Your Job Search

In our last post, Leave Your Resume in the Car, we mentioned that our philosophy about resumes revolves around relationship building.  We discussed how important it is to lead with your personality and not your resume during an interview. But how do you form a relationship before an interview? How do you maintain your business network even if you are not looking for a job?

Make a List of 100 People You Know

Many times executives who have been in the same company or industry for a long time are worried they do not know enough people to expand their network. We suggest pulling out a piece of paper and making a list of 100 people you know. This can include colleagues, friends, members of organizations you belong to, etc. This will reveal your network is bigger than you think and help you identify which members of your network can help.

Reevaluate Your Strategy

At Dinte, we often ask candidates about their job searching strategy.  Rarely do they tell us that blindly sending out resumes is a successful method. Do not be afraid to ask people in your network for an introduction or recommendation.

In a recent article, An Introvert’s Guide to Networking, the Harvard Business Review reminds readers not to be shy about making an introduction. A smile and firm handshake can be all that is needed to start a great first conversation. The article also reminds us that social media is making it easier than ever to reach out to people attending upcoming conferences or business events. Many professionals are meeting executives expected to attend a networking event days or weeks before the event begins. This brings us to our next point.

Embrace Social Media

Gone are the days when people picked up the phone to reconnect with a friend or business partner. Social media has changed the way we communicate. Now, it is much easier to send a message to someone anywhere in the world, at any time of day. Social media sites like LinkedIn can help you keep in touch with current connections and expand your network. Twitter is also a great way to follow professional organizations and reach out to industry influentials.

Develop Relationships Your Entire Career

Networking doesn’t stop once you land your dream job or land a big contract. Even if you are not doing business with a specific person, it is still important to meet for lunch or to send a quick e-mail. This person may be an important business partner in the future or have a great recommendation for a new connection. You never know where the next great opportunity will be.

How do you stay connected with your business network and develop new relationships in your industry?