Simple Steps to Build and Keep a Network

#BeCreative in Professional Relations

In the current era, where some job positions are only circulated in closed networks and many jobs depends on references, networking is particularly important. So how to build a network, keep it and benefit from it? Overall, it is quite simple and it is based on three main concepts: human and professional relationships, personality, and work interest.

What follows are advices from someone who never got a job applying to a public job vacancy, but was introduced and referred by former colleagues, and got job offers through spontaneous applications and direct talks with people active in her field.  

 

How to build relationship?

 

Your first work experiences play an important role in building a network, even if they are traineeships, as there you will meet your colleagues and you will be able to benefit from their advice and experience.

 

Never forget three basic rules: be nice and sociable – communicate with your colleagues; do your work and the tasks you are assigned; and do not be scared to ask questions. If you are sociable, if you do your work and show interest in the company and your tasks, your colleagues will appreciate your contribution. It does not matter that you are a trainee or if you make mistakes.

 

When you start your first “real” work, the same principles should apply. It does not matter which company you work for, whether you like the job or not: always be professional, nice and hard working. Try to maintain good relationships, ask for references before leaving, and stay in touch with people. You may need a good contact person for your next applications.

 

How to keep relationship?

 

Another important point to benefit from your network is to stay in touch with people. This does not mean that you have to spam former colleagues on a daily basis, but some events like Christmas or the New Year are good occasions to send wishes, add a few words about your current work situation, and ask for news. Additionally, if your former colleagues work in the same or a close field as you do or would like to, do not hesitate to share with them events, articles or news that may interest them, or ask them questions. If they see something that may interest you, they will reciprocate the favour. If a position opens within their company, they will rather advertise it to people who know the field or that they know.

 

How to benefit from relationship?

 

Former colleagues and the components of your network are human beings. If they appreciate the work you have done and the person you are, they will help you. They will introduce you to other people, they may provide you with advice related to your job applications, or even mentor you, if you are lucky.

 

Do not hesitate to ask for help while you are about to send a job application, but also do your homework. Underline that you understand they may not have the time, but if they do, you would be grateful for their help. Stay informed about companies and people active and evolutions in your field. Attend conferences and networking events. If you would like to meet someone and one of your former colleagues knows that person, ask to be introduced – it always makes a better impression. Finally, ask for feedback, take every criticism in a positive way and work on it.

 

By and large, remember a few points:

  • It is not the size of your network that is important, it is the quality and the relationships you keep with people. You may be connected to thousands of people but only really know a hundred;
  • Do not spam people, but to stay in touch on a regular basis;
  • Your LinkedIn profile is a good way to demonstrate your interest and activities in your field – post news on average once a week;
  • If people appreciate your work and your personality, they may consider mentoring you. Do not ask for a mentor, stress the point that you would like to benefit from the experience and advice from someone.

by Marie Barani

#SharingisCaring!

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