Remember when you were looking for work, and people kept telling you the best way to find employment was to network both on and offline? Specifically, you should remember ME telling you that. Well once you start working, your networking shouldn’t stop. Opportunities are going to continue to present themselves outside of your current position and you still need to be visible to really take advantage of them.
Reasons to Network
Side Projects: Other motivated people will always have some kind of side project on the go that will enhance your resume beyond what your current job can offer you.
Random Really Cool Stuff: There is always some kind of event going on that you only really know about because you’re connected to the right people.
Finding Out How Much You’re Worth: If you’re decent at your job, and others see what you can do, you could start getting offers to “jump ship.” Then you see things like how much another company is willing to pay you, and you can feel confident asking for a raise.
New Job Opportunities You Never Would Have Thought of: Sometimes, you SHOULD jump ship and try something completely new. Sitting at your desk doing the same thing over and over followed by going directly home and not engaging with people outside your circle of friends really limits this opportunity.
You Could Be Looking Again: Someday your company could shut down, downsize, or just start to suck altogether. You’ll want to be able to exploit all of your contacts for a speedy job search. Remember, the bigger your network, the shorter the search.
Networking at Work
Meet Everyone at Work: Make a point to engage with as many people within and outside the company as possible. Vendors, agencies, clients…pretty much anyone.
Be Involved in Your Community: People are 300% more impressed with you when you are working vs when you are unemployed (Warning, may not be an actual statistic). So why not meet people at these events when you’re impressive rather than waiting until you’re sad and poor?
Leverage Social Media: Your community is going to have some kind of event calendar posted somewhere whether it is created by your local Chamber of Commerce or the city or town that you live in. Whoever has created it is going to love it when you comment, share or retweet it. This will also increase your presence among people who attend these events, even before attending them. Make sure to add all of your contacts to LinkedIn and Twitter as you meet them, so it doesn’t look so desperate later when you contact them (i.e. try to exploit them).
There are millions of ways to network. For a reminder on how to use social media to do it properly, check out an earlier post Dude, Where's My Job 2 - Networking Revisited. Remember, if you’re an introvert and have difficulty networking and meeting new people, just get over it cause there’s no real alternative that would yield the same results.