How to build a broad business network

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Mar 02

Research consistently shows that your business network is the best way to find a job. Then, there is the best of the best: getting a recommendation from an employee in your network that is inside your target company. This makes sense: a person already in the organization knows the potential candidate and will put their reputation on the line saying this person (you!) will do great in the job.

This means your best opportunity to find a job is to have a business network where people are in as many different targeted companies as possible. But how can you start to build that kind of network? Let’s check out some different tactics to get you there.

Get the personal e-mail of people who leave your company

Seriously, how many employees have left your company voluntarily or through a layoff and you don’t have a way to contact them? Start counting…keep going…how many?

Each left your company for some reason, good or bad. But all of them are now working in a different company from the one you are in. Plus: you already have a relationship with them. This is not a situation where you need to go find new people to know; you already know them.

This is simple, of course. But most people won’t think that the person walking out the door could be a mutually valuable contact. Cubicle Warriors do.

Stay connected on social media

I won’t go through all the techniques you can use to stay in consistent touch with your network. But if you look at your status updates and all you see are Farmville posts, you are not staying in touch with your network.

Join professional organizations

Many job functions have local professional organizations that help you learn new skills on the job. All offer the ability to meet others that do the same work you do in other companies. If all you do is go to these meetings and sit with the people you know from your own company — if you go at all — you completely miss the opportunity to expand your network to other companies.

Consistent communication with your business network on new work and skills

Outside of specific communication with individuals in your business network, it is useful to let all of your network know about new work you are doing or new skills you have acquired in the course of your work. These types of communications trigger thoughts of how you can help based on the new skills.

By consistently communicating with your business network, you keep your name and skills close at hand when new opportunities come up in a company.

It is your business network that will get you jobs

Look, if all this sound like yada yada yada, the world has changed. Getting a  job is now about people knowing other people and what they can do. Not job boards, not Internet marketing and not Craig’s List. Instead, it is about people you know inside companies where those job openings on the job boards show up. They can give Cubicle Warriors the very best chance for a shot at landing the job.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.