Build Your Network Before You Need Them

Several of my former colleagues, friends, or family are on the job prowl. I’m always happy to help others, as many have helped me. A few however, want to join the conversation, they immediately started blogs, twitter, and the like as they’ve heard of the tremendous buzz and reach these tools can provide with persistence.

Unfortunately, networking doesn’t work this way, relationships take time, getting to know folks requires patience, and people are generally cautious –if not fearful– of Johnny come lately that is asking, rather than giving. Some people change their status message on their linkedin profile, saying they are now looking for jobs, and I question if it’s too late.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned, and hope you intake, invest, and pass on:

1) You’re always looking for the next opportunity, simply shutting down what else is in the market is fool hearted. It doesn’t mean you need to jump ship before 1 month, or 1 year, but it means you should be talking to recruiters, companies, and hiring managers to see what next skills are needed now, and in the future. This will actually help your current employer, as you continue to skill up, take on new projects, as they invest in you. Remember, even if you work for someone else, you are a company of one.

2) Those who ignore the party/conversation/network when they are content and decide to drop in when they need the network may not succeed. It’s pretty easy to spot those that are just joining the network purely to take –not to give. Therefore, be part of the party/conversation/network before you need anything from anyone. Start now, and continue to build relationships by giving now: share knowledge, help others, and become a trusted node and connector, not just an outlying ‘dot’ of a comet that swings in every 4 years or so.

So there you go friends, two nuggets, add your suggestions below, good luck!