If you’re still among the ranks of the employed, consider yourself lucky. But don’t rest easy just yet.
Job security is a thing of the past and worker bees need to stay one step ahead of their employers. That means staying plugged into one’s industry and aware of who’s hiring. In other words, it takes networking, even while working.
Getting out there
Don’t have time or don’t see the need for networking? Worried about getting caught by your boss? Experts say there are many reasons, and ways, to successfully get out and meet people.
“The best time to start networking is when you have a job, because you don’t have the pressure of being unemployed,” said Marisol Berrios, career coach and president of Career and Life Matters in the Bronx.
To start, Berrios suggests joining a chamber of commerce or charity organization.
It’s also essential to attend networking events, join your professional association and attend industry events, or even one-on-one meetings to hear what industry innovators are doing.
“Get involved with a group of diverse professionals and showcase what makes you valuable,” Berrios said. “Find groups aligned with your goals.” If membership is too expensive, she suggested looking out for free webinars and classes.
Look for opportunities everywhere
Keep an open mind about which events or organizations will help you, added frequent networker Scott Bloom, president of Bloom Real Estate Group. “If it appears that something positive can come from an event, I participate.”
He plays on softball teams, combining business and pleasure. “Do what you like and get to know others there. People like working with those who think like them.”
Added Berrios, “If you go to church on Sundays and there’s a gathering, go to that. Go to PTA meetings, talk to people at the bus stop. Do one or two things per week, whether that’s a phone call, an email, or a conversation.”
Master networker Joan Cear, managing partner at G.S. Schwartz & Co., a public relations firm, and president of the New York Women In Communications foundation, once landed a job after reconnecting with a neighbor.
“I was socializing with old neighborhood pals and I asked one guy whom to contact at his company,” she said. “He told me where to send a resume; I was hired about a month later.”
Don’t fret about getting caught
“Good managers want their employees to be connected within their profession,” Cear reminded networkers.
Simply tell your boss — or those with whom you’re networking — that you wanted to meet the industry’s leaders or expand your network. That doesn’t mean you’re looking to leave where you are right at that moment.
Added Berrios, “Don’t lose focus from your job, but stay marketable, and look for ways to build relationships.”