When searching for a job, a healthy professional network is pivotal to finding the right position. However, many of us let our professional network languish until we really need it. The best time to nurture your relationship is before you need to tap into it. Here are three practices for a robust network:
Engage natural connections. Get in the habit of reaching out to those in your network when natural opportunities arise. Read a great article? Share it with one person you think would enjoy it. Hear that an associate received a promotion? Get in touch to offer your congratulations. These brief touches will keep you and those you know in regular contact.
Rekindle past connections. Make a monthly or weekly practice of looking through your address book for someone you haven’t talked to in some time. Making this part of your routine keeps distance from developing between you and valued colleagues.
Forge new connections. A static network is a stagnating network. Networking requires some intentionality and effort, which is why it lapses for many of us. Aim to attend a networking event once a month. To receive—and give—the most benefit, clarify your goals before participating in a networking event. It could be as simple as hearing the latest industry trends or having thought-provoking conversation to spark new ideas.
A thriving network benefits you at all points in your career. The pandemic highlighted that we need each other—now more than ever. This is true not just for opening a door, but for sharing problems and solutions.