Monday, February 20, 2012

Networking Begins Before You are Out of Work

A former staff member contacted me the other day to ask me to “recommend her” on her LinkedIn site.

I’m happy to do that but ...

  • She worked for me in the late 1990s (but I really don’t recall much about her performance ... at least not enough to give a specific recommendation that would be better than a generic one).
  • She was “out of touch” until an email in the fall.
  • She has been working at a St. Louis-based association for the last six years but I don’t recall seeing her at any St. Louis Society of Association Executives (SLSAE) events/meetings.
In my own job search back in the early 1990s, I learned that a successful job search is not what you know nor who you know but who knows you. I also discovered that it is much easier to get a job when you already have one.

Here are three key elements for building your professional network and source for future work:

  1. You need to be known for something to somebody. Today’s social media tools offer a huge advantage in building your personal brand as a thought leader. In addition to giving presentations, you can blog, Tweet, create videos and use other tools to build your professional image.
  2. You should be involved in your professional associations (especially if you are working for associations or nonprofits). Volunteer. Present. Facilitate. Get involved. Don’t just be a member on the books.
  3. You need to realize that networking within your profession/career is never ending ... you can’t wait until you are out of work!

Here’s a link to a Power Point of a “Gift of Time” presentation  I gave to Businesspeople Between Jobs, a nonprofit working with/for out-of-work professionals in the St. Louis area.

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