- WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
Networking is critical to your success in transition and filling that information gap. Whether you understand it or not, you have a knowledge gap regarding your new career. You can only learn so much from reading articles or listening to podcasts. You need to talk with a variety of people in industries that you are considering to determine the ground truth. By effectively reaching out to others and learning from their experiences, we can make informed decisions about our transition. I knew nothing about consulting, banking, tech, and the array of other industries. However, by networking, I was able to gain enough information to know what areas I’m interested in and what I’m not. By talking with people working in finance and banking, I knew it was not an area I wanted to pursue. I would not have known this without networking.
- START EARLY AND OFTEN
It’s never too late to start developing your network, it will pay off in the long run. The higher quality and larger quantity your network is, the more effective it will be. This network will lead to a lot of successful events and most likely future career opportunities. Use LinkedIn, emails, phone calls, coffee chats, beers, etc. Your network will continue to grow, providing you with more information to decide on your future. Most connections lead to another contact, which leads to more opportunities. Eventually, you’ll be amazed at how significant and widespread your network has grown. You have to put effort into networking to reap the rewards, but they will pay off in the long run.
- YOU’RE NOT NETWORKING FOR A JOB OR INTERVIEW
The approach to take is not to seek a job or interview through networking. That will guarantee a few to no responses and is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. The correct way is to identify yourself and interests, then ask for a few minutes of their time to pick their brain about their career, company or industry. I assure you this will work. People will gladly take time out their day to share knowledge. Down the road, this connection may lead to a job offer or interview, but that is because of the relationship you develop!
- BE AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF YOUR NETWORK
One thing I try to do with all of my connections is to ask them how I can help them. Sometimes I can, other times I can’t. But it’s not a one-way street from the network to you, it has to work both ways. Remember to occasionally connect with members of your network, keeping it active. Think of sharing content, articles or posts on LinkedIn.
- THANK YOUR NETWORK
Remember to thank your connections. Send a thank you message or email after chatting. If they provide valuable information or content, later on, thank them. Just like working with our partner forces, we heap praise and thanks.