Sunday, 29 July 2012

Networking - A Key To Developing Yourself Professionally


NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!                                                                                                       ( Adam Small )
                                                                                                                                     
In older posts, Muovo has already published articles related to job networking and its importance in building and maintaining your professional career. In this article, which was first published by HelpGuide, Muovo would like to share with you 3 vital tips regarding job networking. If you have any comments, feel free to share them with us!

1. Evaluate the quality of your network
If you feel your network is out of date, then it's time to upgrade! As ironic as it might sound, being aware of your own needs will help you connect you with new and more relevant contacts and networks.

Also: Rate your network!
Give yourself 1 point for each question you answer YES.

a) Do you trust your network to give you the truth about the real you?
b) Does your network challenge you as much as it supports you?
c) Does your network feel vibrant and dynamic?
d) Does your network represent your future goals as much as your past?
e) Are the networks connected to your network strong?

What's your score?
5 pts – You can stop reading. Your network is in great shape!
3-4 pts – You need to enhance your network.
0-2 pts – Your network needs a makeover!

2. Take advantage of both “strong” and “weak” ties
Everyone has both “strong” and “weak” ties. Strong ties occupy that inner circle and weak ties are less established. Adding people to networks is time consuming, especially strong ties. It requires an investment of time and energy to have multiple "best friends.” Trying to stay in touch with new acquaintances is just as challenging.

But adding new “weak tie” members gives your network vitality and even more cognitive flexibility—the ability to consider new ideas and options. New relationships invigorate the network by providing a connection to new networks, viewpoints, and opportunities.

Extra Tip!
Tap into your strong ties. Your strong ties will logically and trustingly lead to new weak ties that build a stronger network. Use your existing network to add members and reconnect with people. Start by engaging the people in your trusted inner circle to help you fill in the gaps in your network.

Think about where you want to go. Your network should reflect where you’re going, not just where you’ve been. Adding people to your network who reflect issues, jobs, industries, and areas of interest is essential. If you are a new graduate or a career changer, join the professional associations that represent your desired career path. Attending conferences, reading journals, and keeping up with the lingo of your desired field can prepare you for where you want to go.

Make the process of connecting a priority. Make connecting a habit—part of your lifestyle. Connecting is just as important as your exercise routine. It breathes life into you and gives you confidence. Find out how your network is doing in this environment, what steps they are taking, and how you can help. As you connect, the world will feel smaller and a small world is much easier to manage.

3. Take the time to maintain your network

Maintaining your job network is just as important as building it. Accumulating new contacts can be beneficial, but only if you have the time to nurture the relationships. Avoid the irrational impulse to meet as many new people as possible. The key is quality, rather than quantity. Focus on cultivating and maintaining your existing network. You’re sure to discover an incredible array of information, knowledge, expertise, and opportunities.

Schedule time with your key contacts
List the people that are crucial to your network without regard to your current relations with them—people you know who can and have been very important to you. Invariably, there will be some you have lost touch with. Reconnect and then schedule a regular meeting or phone call. You don't need a reason to get in touch: you connect because you need to and want to. It will always make you feel good and provide you with an insight or two.

Prioritize the rest of your contacts
Keep a running list of people you need to reconnect with both old and new. People whose view of the world you value. People you’d like to get to know better or whose company you enjoy. Prioritize these contacts and then schedule time into your regular routine so you can make your way down the list.

Take notes on the people in your network
Collecting cards and filing them is a start. But maintaining your contacts, new and old, requires updates. Add notes about their families, their jobs, their interests, and their needs. Unless you have a photographic memory, you won’t remember all of this information unless you write it down. Put these updates and notes on the back of their business cards or input them into your contact database.

Find ways to reciprocate
Always remember that successful networking is a two-way street. Your ultimate goal is to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships. That means giving as well as receiving. Send a thank-you note, ask them about their family, email an article you think they might be interested in, and check in periodically to see how they’re doing. By nurturing the relationship through your job search and beyond, you’ll establish a strong network of people you can count on for ideas, advice, feedback, and support.

Do you have any comments? Muovo would be happy to hear from you!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo

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