I can’t stress enough how important networking is. No matter your industry, personality, or situation, networking is one of the best ways to find a job. The connections you build during your job search will benefit you throughout your career.
But what happens once you get the job? Do you retire the Rolodex of connections or clear out your LinkedIn connections, and focus on the job at hand in your little workspace? NO! Developing connections and building relationships at work are just as important as building an outside network. Here’s how you can keep a strong network at work.
We all know and work with that one person who seems to talk to everybody. While there’s nothing wrong with being social, it can be a time drain to build relationships with as many people as possible. It’s best to focus your attention on building a more efficient network of co-workers who all have different skill sets, opinions, and perspectives.
While it’s always good to build strong working relationships with those on your team or in your department, you should look to those you aren’t familiar with to build a good network. Keep in contact with people in other parts of your building or who do jobs that aren’t familiar to you. Networks can be powerful when you bring people together who don’t normally work with each other.
You may think I’m crazy for telling you to build weak ties instead of strong ones, but it really isn’t counterproductive. It feels like developing strong relationships will be the most beneficial, but binding weaker sticks together can end up being stronger than a single big stick. Those you are close to probably share the same social circles as you. Developing weaker ties with others outside of your normal circle connects you to a larger list of people you would normally never talk to.
Go to the Heart
We associate the place where everyone goes to converse as “the water cooler,” and that place can be a great resource for bringing people together. Those who frequent the hubs of conversations tend to be the ones who attract the most people. Instead of asking familiar faces if they can help you, try asking people at these casual gatherings if they know anyone who can help. It’s much easier for someone to say no if directly asked for help, but asking for a connection encourages them to think about the situation. They can stay passive while still helping out.
Go All Out
When building your network, don’t be afraid to use it to touch base with someone you’d like to meet. If you’re not the type to just barge into someone else’s workspace and introduce yourself, or if your target is just very busy and never has the door open, consider getting your boss to contact that person’s boss. Explain to your manager why you believe developing a relationship will help you in your career. If that isn’t an option, try to find out if you share the same goals or hobbies as a reason to talk.
Building a network doesn’t happen overnight. With some patience, generosity, and sincerity, you can build a great network just outside your workspace. With these suggestions, you can increase your network company-wide without wasting time or feeling pushy. How have you networked at work? Sound off in the comments section below.