Networking 101: How to Stay on Top of It Even If You Have a Job

May 13, 2014

While at a soccer game this week, I noticed that several conversations around me involved people changing or looking for jobs.  Each of the conversations involved networking -- they had all found new jobs through connections or were working those connections for information.

As the economy continues to turn around, more employment opportunities begin to open. But is networking necessary if you already have a job?  If the economic recession has taught us anything, it’s that no job is safe and it's always better to be prepared.

Here are some tips for staying on top of your networking game -- even if you are content in your current position.

Stay Connected  
Yes, it’s necessary and important to have a presence online.  Websites like LinkedIn make it easy to stay connected with other professionals.  Classified ads are virtually obsolete when it comes to job searching now.  Recruiters and employers use LinkedIn to not only post jobs, but to find people.  A complete profile can make you more attractive to recruiters and Human Resources professionals while also making it easy for your connections to recommend you.   There are two ways to think about this:

  • Connect to only people in your circle or profession.  Be selective.  This is easy to manage and keeps it limited to your interests.
  • Connect to anyone and everyone.  The theory here is that you never know who your connection’s connection is.

Whichever you prefer, force yourself to make a periodic goal of one new contact per week or per month.  Soon you won’t need the goal, it’ll just come naturally.

Keep Your Resume Current
Update your resume with any new projects or certifications you’ve earned.  Many people have been in a position for years and their resumes haven’t changed.  It’s much easier to remember your achievements as you accomplish them, and it clearly points to how proactive you are if your experience is up-to-date.

Make Person-to-Person Contact Regularly
Although online connections are important, most people still prefer person-to-person contact.  Whether it’s at a large convention or a little league game, it’s important to be open to making new connections. Being shy isn’t a good excuse.  Personal conversations offer you the opportunity to expound on your abilities and specify your goals.

Make Sure to Follow Up
Follow up is important as well.  Whenever you meet someone new, follow up with an email, connect on LinkedIn, call and re-connect.  Use any and all opportunity to expand your network.

Don’t Fret About Your Company Disapproving
Most companies actually promote their employees’ networking.  A sociable employee reflects positively on the employer.

Remember, It’s Not All About You 
Making connections should be mutually beneficial.  You are providing a connection as well as making one.  Don’t hesitate to help someone who needs a mentor; don’t hesitate to connect others with like professionals.  Think of them not as your competitors but the link to future opportunities.

Remember -- just because you aren’t technically looking for a job doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make connections.  You never know when a great opportunity will arise, and you can’t hear the knock if you aren’t listening.

This post was written by Andrew Tauer, a fixed income analyst for Colorado PERA. Would you like to write a guest post for The Dime Colorado? Send us an email at dimecontact@copera.org