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Active Networking - The Insurance Policy for Your Career

Active networking is hands down one of the best things you can do for your career.

Period.

Yet, tragically, most professionals fail to realize the power of networking until it’s too late. Facing a layoff, pay cut or reassignment is the absolute worst time to start reaching out to others to build your network. By then, you’re already behind the 8-ball. And there’s not much anyone can do to help.

The time to make and build sound connections is when you DON’T need them. For this puts you in a much better position to take advantage of opportunities as they come up. Not to mention the reduced stress and increased leverage when you do.

So how do you go about tilting the pendulum in your favor? By consistently nurturing your network and providing value at every turn.

Strong Networks Aren’t Built Overnight

One of the key factors in building strong relationships is establishing trust. And if there’s anything that takes time to cultivate, trust would be it. You should be laying the groundwork for your relationships long before calling in favors.

Thankfully, the process is not as difficult as you might think.

Stay in Touch with Colleagues - both past and present. You’ve likely gotten to know many people throughout your career, so why not maintain those relationships? Keep yourself top of mind for when the right opportunities arise. Most importantly, be willing to do the same in return.

Your efforts don't have to be anything big. A quick call or email to check in will suffice. Just be sure it’s not all about you. Inquire on the state of their world as well.  

Expand Your Circle - always be on the lookout for new people to engage with. Friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and even recruiters. Get out of your comfort zone and connect with a wide swath of individuals. You never know who might be in their network.

Ask what they’re up to and see if you can help. This simple gesture builds trust and rapport quickly.

Which can lead to unexpected opportunities down the road.

What Goes Around Comes Around

Humans have long believed in the theory of Reciprocity. Meaning we should pay back to others what has been done for us. And when it comes to networking and your career, reciprocity can be a powerful ally.

For once you help someone, they’ll want to do the same for you.

Be a Resource - share your knowledge with others. Whether it be your friends, clients, peers or community. Always be on the lookout for ways to provide value and be of service to others.

The more you do, the faster your network will grow.

Make Introductions and Recommendations - by phone, email, LinkedIn or in person. On a daily or weekly basis, make introductions for people on complementary paths. Give recommendations or provide testimonials as frequently as possible.

Doing so makes for good karma, and you’ll likely see the favor returned in spades.

You Never Know Where Your Next Opportunity Might Come From

Many believe that networking is only useful when searching for a job. But this simply isn’t true.  It’s about growing in your current role as well.

Most organizations tend to promote from within. Knowing (and helping) the right people can get your name added to the top of the list. Take time to reflect and ask yourself, “Am I networking with the right crowd?

Seek Out Great Mentors - to avoid common pitfalls and accelerate your career growth. All while making connections you might otherwise never experience on your own.

Mentor Others - both your peers and those just coming up the ranks. Anytime you can provide value - or lend a hand - don’t think twice about it. Those you help will remember your generosity and reciprocate when the time is right.

Look for Ways to Serve - both on and off the job. Stay late and help out on that big project. Offer to coach the kids’ soccer team. Or volunteer for your favorite local charity.

You will be amazed at the caliber of people you meet in these kinds of situations. And once you earn their trust, your network grows exponentially (again and again).

Along with your opportunities.

Conclusion

In the end, a robust network is a lot like an insurance policy. You build and maintain it over time not knowing if you’ll ever actually need to use it. But if a situation arises and you do, it’s sure nice to know it’s there.  

And you can’t buy that after the fact…

Together- We Succeed!

Chase & Associates

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