- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On March 20, 2015
- Career management
“I’m happy in my job. I don’t need to network.”
Many people think this way but it’s the same as saying you will eat healthily only after you’ve had you first diagnosis of high cholesterol.
- The best time to network to find a new job is when you have a job.
- Networking is a way to make you more successful all the time. A strong network will help you be more succesful in your current position.
The best time to network is now. This is always true.
Building relationships takes time. Relationships are about establishing trust. You cannot rush this process so you need to start it long before you need a new job. (In fact one of the classic networking books by Harvey Mackay is called Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.)
In practical terms I’ve found that meeting someone in-person then following up about 2-3 times per month for 6 months will put you into the category of “trusted contact”. Once you’re in this category people will go out of their way to help you.
If you’re looking to stay in the healthcare industry for some time, you should invest in building your network now. Even if it’s years until you need a new job now is the time to start building these relationships.
Networking to boost your performance
Networking is not just about tracking down your next job. The real power of your network is that it gives you your own army of helpers and advisors.
Once you’re a “trusted contact” your connections will be more than happy to help you find answers to your toughest challenges. Having “many heads” working on your marketing problems is like going from an employee to the CEO of your own firm.
You will be able to quickly find resources like great designers, web developers or writers and these will will come to you with references, eliminating the uncertainty associated with relying on Google for your next team member.
You will be able to use your network as your “virtual board of advisors” bringing their experience and unique worldviews to your projects. You will be able to come up with “out of the box’ solutions you may never have thought of on your own.
How to build your network
How do you go about building, or expanding, your network? Here are a couple of strategies:
Get a referral
Be a conference commando
- Spend time before a conference researching who you want to meet and get some background on them
- Volunteer to help the conference organizers so you get inside access to items like the attendee list
- Become a reporter at the conference, for example blog
- Use coffee breaks to make connections
- Follow-up quickly to cement your new contacts.
Connect on social media
Networking is often misunderstood. It can be one of the best ways to dramatically improve your career. Just like healthy eating and exercise the time to start networking is now.