This month, I'm going to provide a career management tip-a-day (along with other posts) to help you trigger your own career management activities.
September, to me, has always signified the start of fall here in the Northern Hemisphere. It was back-to-school time, new notebooks, and some new clothes to go show off with my classmates. September, compared to the frolic of summer, is simply more Serious; a time to start to focus on the work at hand.
Here's the first career management tip: Formalize your networking.
In a global economy, with companies being bought and sold, employees being laid off, and organizational change in your own company creating terrific amounts of turnover, it is more important than ever to have a good network of coworkers, friends, and perhaps family to provide a support structure for your career.
Yet, it's getting harder and harder to maintain a support network -- for the same reasons it is needed now more than ever!
Here's five ways to formalize your networking:
- Networking is helping other people. Recognizing this simple fact allows you to do what you do best and be remembered for it -- help others.
- Keep in contact with people who leave your company. You've already established a good working relationship with this person -- and it is very easy to lose touch with someone who can actually help you find a job in a different company. There are many ways to keep in touch, but few do.
- Purposely schedule time to talk with other people. Whether it is going out to lunch, having a cup of coffee, or simply walking around, talking with people will give you opportunities to help people that you would not have had if you just sat in your cube.
- Do informational interviews inside your company. You're not looking for a job, but you want to know more about what people do. One way to do this is to spend 15-20 minutes interviewing someone in a different department about their work. Over coffee is great, but there are the two benefits of learning more about the company and making a new contact at the same time.
- Use a career management tool set. I use Jibber Jobber because it is a suite of tools that will help your career. Jason also has a great blog on career management supporting Jibber Jobber. From contacts, to a place to prepare your elevator speech, to importing contacts from LinkedIn, to tracking resumes and interviews, Jibber Jobber is the most comprehensive career management tool I've seen.
Networking, while important in the past, is critical for cubicle warriors now.