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Every once in a while I find an individual who’s waiting to start using LinkedIn “when they need it” – hinting that until they’re looking for a job, they don’t need to network in general, or use LinkedIn specifically.

I’m always vocal about their need to get out now – when they don’t “need to” – and here’s why…

Training

You’re familiar with recreational sports leagues, yes? They have training sessions, right? Coaches bench players that don’t show up for practice, don’t they?

Why?

Because in order to compete at even a modest level, everyone needs to practice.

Networking is no different.

Networking takes skill

Just as in sports, there are a few “naturals” who get it, but for the rest of us, networking is a learned skill. We need that Thursday night session to get our skills toned up for Saturday’s game.

Ok – so maybe there aren’t weekly networking training sessions for you to attend, but getting out and regularly networking makes you a better networker.

Staying home doesn’t.

Online networking is no different

If you want to be able to work through your online network “when you need it”, you’ve got to get experience using it when you don’t.

Waiting to make mistakes

So if it’s a given that novices make mistakes, do you want to be a novice at LinkedIn before you look for a job, or while you’re looking for a job?

Your choice…

When do you stop networking?

Sure enough, what’s one of the top things people do after they find a new job – you guessed it – they abandon their networking efforts – and that’s the topic for my next post.

To your continued success with LinkedIn,

steve