The last few weeks I’ve witnessed a lot of change in both my personal life and professional life.  I’ve also read there’s been a lot of change going in the lives of many of my readers.  In May/June, many of you graduated and are now looking for jobs in the tech industry for that next level of change.

 

Recently, many emails, posts and one-on-ones I’ve had have been about getting a job or changing jobs.  I find that most people will take the traditional route.  Build a resume, search for jobs, send your resume and wait.  It’s not a bad approach; it’s worked for many all their lives, but we’re in a changing world and we’re in a CONNECTED world.  If we’re in a “connected” world, then shouldn’t we leverage our connections?

 

I network (period).

Two years ago I wrote about networking (with others) and it’s fitting as we discuss change, to bring it up again.  I didn’t always network, well… at least not intentionally the way I do today.  Other than the small talk I would make here and there, I never went out of my way to form new relationships and I feel that the times I didn’t were lost opportunities.  Today I network all the time.  I attend as many events I can that my schedule allows.  I host events, to build new relationships and to increase my range of influence.  I still wouldn’t say I’m GREAT at maintaining my network, but I know others would argue that I do a great job.  J

 

Who do I network with?  Everybody!

At times I may be a little more narrow focused, but I want to know people, what they do, where they work, how much experience they have, what they do for fun, etc.  Networking, not only keeps me connected, but also helps me connect others.  I’ve helped many people build new friendships/relationships by the ability to connect people who were looking for each other, not knowing the existed.  Just recently I met two people, complete strangers to me at a political networking event.  I met one person who wanted to become involved in an ethnic club.  About an hour later I met someone who actually ran a club of the ethnicity the first person was looking for.  Shortly after I connected them and the club was able to recruit a new member.

 

Younger people, older people, more experienced, less experienced, etc.  It doesn’t matter.  I know many people who fear exposure to certain people because of a position, but often times it’s people in those position that have influence.  As many of you are now seeking employment and gone through your traditional routes; I’d like you to give this a try.  Network with people in the industry you want to be in.  Ask them about their job, their company, their role, etc.  Is this what you want?  If so, let them know and ask if there are opportunities.

 

I have an opening on my team.  In addition to the resumes I receive, I’m being proactive looking at networking groups, Cisco user groups and referrals.  4 out 5 recent hires on my team were referrals and they’ve worked out great.  I really want to hear your networking stories.

 

Who do you network with?  Has networking helped advance your career?  What challenges do you have with networking?