After sending off a strongly worded note to a friend yesterday, I realized that the message applies to every business professional – and needed to make it out to the blog.
My friend wanted to help her brother who was just laid off, and was starting to network on his behalf.
The advice was simple – he needs to network at four different levels – and so do you!
1) LinkedIn for business professionals
On the positive side, he’s already using LinkedIn – but has only a handful of connections and a bare profile. He needs to develop the profile and connect to the people he already knows and trusts.
LinkedIn will help him find relationships, meet key contacts, and promote his professional position.
If it isn’t clear what to do, he’s just got to tap into the educational material out there. That’s why I put things out on this blog about LinkedIn, distribute the free LinkedIn tip sheet, and wrote The LinkedIn Personal Trainer.
2) Regional networking associations
I’m located in the upstate NY area, and Digital Rochester is the networking organization for anyone managing technology or working in a technical company. He’s got to get on the mailing list, get out to events, and meet business owners, entrepreneurs, other professionals.
There’s got to be a regional networking group wherever you are.
3) Profession based networking associations
We both happen to share a history with computer systems infrastructure, and GVSAGE is the local professional group for sysadmins of all types. He needs to join, attend, and meet peers in a non-work setting. In addition to passing employment information around, we become a sounding board, advisory group, and peer support for our members.
Whatever profession you’re in probably has one of these organizations. If it doesn’t – start one!
4) Personal networking
We’re in the same field and location – and should be talking. I extended an invitation to spend at least a few minutes talking at the next GVSAGE meeting which is happening shortly. Perhaps we’ll set up a time for coffee for just the two of us. Reserving time in the course of every month to get out and talk with people you know (and people you’d like to know) on a personal level is the fourth portion of everyone’s networking diet.
All the time
Notice that I didn’t say much about finding a job with this networking effort. Yes, he’s going to do that, but why network only when you’re looking for a job? If he had been doing this already, he’d just mention the recent job loss when he’s networking and I bet he’d tap right into the flow of job information and get a new one right away. Right now he’s got to learn networking, meet people, and build relationships in addition to trying to tap into the flow of information.
And if he keeps doing this after finding a job – he’ll be ready should anything else happen and he’ll be getting advice to make himself that much more effective in his job.
Please share this!
I really don’t want to help another person who’s just lost their job start to network – I’d like to help everyone who has a job start to network!-)
If you’re already a networker and you “get it” – please share this note or link with those that don’t yet see the value in networking. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some people involved before they get that pink slip…
My only shot at distributing this is to offer it to those that I already network with… You have my explicit permission to share this complete note with your friends and people you think would get helped by it. (or perhaps you’ll help by linking to the page from your blog)
To your continued success,