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is the way you build influence. It's your source for what is happening
in your organization, your industry, and your profession. Networks
provide opportunities and information through relationships.
Based on give and take, networks depend on the attention and nurturing
you provide. You ask people for advice, contacts, and information;
in turn, you offer help. You form relationships and friendships.
Networking is a dynamic
ongoing process that should be part of your everyday life. Treat
every meeting or encounter as a potential networking opportunity.
Remember, you are looking to build relationships and friendships,
not just get contacts and favors. Treat members of your network
with respect and consideration. And keep in mind that you are useful
to other people's networks as well. Most jobs are not advertised;
usually they are filled by people who have networked their way into
contact with the employer.
Keep careful, up-to-date records of your network and the information
you get from your network.
Personal associations offer great opportunities to network with
people in your field. There are even formal networking groups and
online listservs that you can join.
A network is not only important for your career advancement. It
is also a good determinant of your progress towards achieving your
Building influence and networks is about being known in your community.
You gain influence and opportunity when people perceive that you
have knowledge, skills, and relationships. Building influence is
a life long pursuit.
Communicating your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and questions is important
to building influence. Teach others what you know. Ask about what
you don't know. Ask a professor about a research topic about which
you've been thinking. Consider it your job to participate in the
mainstream flow of information.
As you continue to build influence, your strategies for information
communication will change. Determine the methods that work best
Mentoring is an extremely valuable tool for defining your goals,
building a career, and solidfying your place in your community.
Some employers, organizations, and schools have formal mentoring
programs. These programs are invaluable when available. A unique
take relationship exists between a mentor and his/her pupil. This
relationship benefits both parties. For the mentor, this relationship
is an opportunity to give something back to the profession or industry.
Make it your business to cultivate potential mentorships; you never
know who will step into the role when you need a mentor. Most young
professionals do not have mentors in the first year of their careers.
During this time, they are learning about their companies and becoming
comfortable with their jobs. However, this time is vital for the
development of future mentorships. Seasoned employees often have
little time to mentor. They choose to mentor only those people who
they view as promising. Therefore, the first impressions you give
these people is often the most important.
- Maintain a card file on your contacts
- Be organized with your job search, interviews, and appointments
- Request to be put on mailing lists associated with your industry
- Attend local lectures and presentations
- Volunteer for committees
- Always carry a business card or resume
- Follow up on all leads