I picked up on this series of posts a few days ago and was waiting until Scott posted on networking (I knew he would). Specifically, the series addresses:
“What do you do to manage your career? How do you know what to do to manage your career? In the next few posts, weâ€™ll take a look at what basics are needed to manage your career.”
His first post was on finances, second on job performance, third on job skills, and now finally on networking. I have enjoyed the entire series so far and find them to be basic yet timely. You know, common sense isn’t so common? I’m excited to see his post on networking and thought I’d throw in my two cents.
Scot talks plainly about how the definition of networking should include:
- networking is natural
- networking is about keeping in contact
- networking is changing
- networking requires time
I can’t take any thunder away from his message, and can’t write it better than he has, you need to go on over and read about his personal experiences. This is just a 5 minute read, and critical for anyone that cares about their career management. I love how this is a series of posts on career management, and he isn’t saying (or hasn’t yet said) that any one thing that he brings up is more important than another. I think that some people might think I’m a networking freak, and that’s all I talk about, but I firmly believe that you need to have substance also (like the job skills and performance that he talks about).
One thought on LinkedIn, since he brings that up. Don’t go onto LinkedIn thinking that you are going to have many deep and meaningful relationships. You might, especially if you work at it, but for lots of folks it is about as bleak and lonely as my blog theme, which is a desert. There are many many other ways to network, LinkedIn could/should be one way (it is a great way to stay in touch with recruiters, as they love the thing), but there are others.
One key thing that I’ve discovered about networking is that there are many circles of networks, and if you keep going to the same meetings time after time it is hard to know about or network in the other circles. So shake things up a little. Go to alumni meetings (usually you can go without having graduated from the school), chamber meetings, First Friday breakfasts (many cities have this), fund raising meetings (here in Utah there is a monthly “How to Raise Money in Utah”), church network meetings (I know these are held all over the country with the sole purpose of bringing together professionals to network (I’m guessing there isn’t alcohol;)))… and any of the many other network meetings.
Of course, don’t go to every single meeting out there, and some are better than others, but the point is, mix it up a little. If you only go to one type of network meeting you are certainly missing out on meeting other great people, and diversifying your personal network.