As we settle into our careers, often many stop building their professional network. I made this mistake. I thought my job was solid and I didn’t take the time to develop relationships outside of the individuals I worked with on a daily basis. Then I was faced with a layoff and had to start from scratch. Thankfully I had some great support, joined a couple networking groups and was on my way. I vowed that I would not let this happen again.
Although I am still really learning the art of networking, I have realized that it is about cultivating relationships – so it takes effort just like a friendship. If you don’t continue to make the effort eventually those friendships are lost. My struggle, which is very common, is finding the time to network between work and family. The best way will be different for everyone – it can be as simple as once a month going to lunch with a colleague outside of your work, attending training sessions or networking events among area chambers and professional organizations.
I found the following articles very helpful to understanding the importance of networking as well as for some great tips.
– Broaden Your Professional Network
– Five Quick Tips for More Confident Networking
– The 5 Worst Blunders Most Networkers Make
– Grow your professional network with LinkedIn
I hope these are helpful as you work on broadening your professional network.