Personal networking is crucial to your career whether you are currently looking for a new IT position or not. Being strategic about it makes it a whole lot easier. And it’s important for your career even if you aren’t currently looking for a new IT position.
But networking is more than just running around handing your business card (or your resume) to everyone you know. In fact, that kind of scattershot approach is almost guaranteed not to generate the results you want. Let these 6 tips show you ways you can be working networking into your every day to ensure when you are ready for that next IT career move, you’ve got a pool of contacts to start with.
Network More Effectively for Your Next IT Career Move
The best networkers – i.e. the people whose career trajectories tend to outstrip their peers – approach their networking efforts strategically and consistently. Here’s how:
1. Identify gaps in your Networking
A good personal network contains a wide array of people in a wide array of roles from a wide array of industries. You never know when you’re going to need specialized expertise or advice. Do you know a lawyer or two? An accountant? A procurement specialist? Is there an industry you want to begin exploring but know no one in that space? If all your contacts are within your industry, it’s time to broaden your horizons a little.
2. Use Facebook to Tap into Your Personal Network
Facebook isn’t just for ‘personal’ stuff. Check out your friends’ Facebook pages. It’s possible your old friend from university is now a senior VP of something and could be a great addition to your IT career network. So why not invite her to lunch? Don’t separate this network as only personal. Mine it to see what contacts you have that you want to strengthen.
3. Be Visible (Especially Online)
Google your name. Does anything come up? Is it what you expected. If not, it’s time to enhance your profile, whether by populating your LinkedIn profile, starting a Twitter account, writing a blog, posting a presentation on SlideShare, even commenting on blogs using your own name – something that indicates you’re different/above-average/not just another corporate drone.
Ensure your online visibility is positive. If there are things to be deleted, do that now. And if they can’t, start beefing up your positive online presence so those less appealing searches get push way down the page.
4. Have Something to Say
This is both a corollary to #3 because in order to be visible online, you have to have something to say. Preferably related to your career or industry, of course. This messaging is a networking strategy of its own. Networking is all about building personal relationships, and people like to build relationships with people who have interesting things to say and bring new ideas to the table. So the next time you go to a networking event, don’t think about how many business cards you can hand out – think about what insightful comments you’ll contribute to the discussion.
5. Have something to offer
Networking is a two-way street: The best way to put yourself in a position to ask a favour of someone else is to have done a favour for them in the past. So set yourself up as an ‘expert’ in something, and make it clear you’re happy to offer help or insight on that topic. It doesn’t even have to be directly career-related – one young job-seeker I know has collected a lot of favours simply by being an expert in how to use the latest App.
6. Enjoy the process – and learning new things!
The most successful networkers are people who enjoy the networking process. They like other people, they like interacting with people, they love learning new things, and they see networking as an opportunity to do all three. If this doesn’t come naturally for you, being working to change your mindset from networking being an unwelcome work-related task to seeing it as an opportunity to meet interesting people, learn interesting things, or go interesting places.
If you are in the market for a new IT position, you should network with us. Contact us today to learn what positions we have open and if they are a good fit for you.
Visit our Guide to Finding the Perfect Tech Job for more helpful articles on your next IT job search.