Today’s job market is so different than a decade ago. With the rising popularity of databases like LinkedIn and social media platforms, it’s easier than ever to locate information. It’s also harder than ever to compete because the job market has become global and more specialized.
How do you stand a chance among thousands of people around the world?
One way is to build a targeted professional network. Having a robust network not only gives you a leg up, so to speak, it may be directly tied to your job survival.
There are numerous articles on steps to take to build an active network, but this article focuses on creating a support network—not just a group of people you may know in the professional realm.
Make a list of target companies and at least one individual at that company. Introduce yourself and indicate how you would appreciate the courtesy of a professional meeting. Offer the person breakfast or lunch for their time. If time is scarce, engage in some email or phone conversations which you can follow up with a written thank you note. In some cases, a token gift is also appropriate.
In that list of individuals who have now become professional acquaintances, choose which person might be considered a mentor. This person is one who can offer you wisdom and the benefit of their experience. While this person may also coach you, their unique perspective tends to point you toward growth with discretion.
Also, choose a few experts in your field. These people provide access to information in the industry usually before it happens. They help you think innovatively and stay ahead of trends.
Third, develop a rapport with a person who knows people. This individual has a social network as well as a professional one and is familiar with connecting people who could be resources. It is a rare talent to hold onto the relationship once you find it.
Finally, like any relationship of value, a professional network requires nurturing. You may be more on the receiving end early on in your career, but the strength of your network is determined by how much you “give” in the relationships as well.
Patrick Whelan Associates, Inc. provides professional recruiting services in the Albany, NY area. Our honest and transparent approach to assisting clients and candidates have led to building long-term relationships with rock-solid values.
How can we help you today?