There are quite a few ways to protect yourself against unemployment but one of the most effective by far is creating and maintaining a large network. If you’ve worked with me in the role of career coach before, it might seem like I rabbit on about this a lot but believe me it’s for good reason.
I have seen candidates successfully transition into new roles at the speed of light after sensing a restructure on the horizon, others re-enter the workforce as a result of a school gate conversation and had clients access roles that they might not otherwise be competitive for simply because of a warm introduction via a network contact.
Even if you’re currently in a role it is always in your best interests to stay externally connected. You never know when changes will occur and it can be much more difficult to renew old relationships down the track when you’re feeling vulnerable and wondering whether the contact is thinking you’re reaching out because you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of a new role.
Often I find that clients think of their networks very narrowly but I’d really encourage you to think as broadly as possible which might include current and past colleagues, neighbours, friends at the gym, old school or uni mates, children’s friends parents, community involvement, your church, pretty much any context where you interact with other people. If you have 100 contacts but they have a 100 of their own, all of a sudden you have access to 10,000 people, less some duplication of course. You might consider preparing a network map (check out this short You Tube Video for instructions) to fully appreciate the size of your network.
So how do you maintain said network? I encourage you to keep a coffee kitty to regularly catch up with members of your network but let’s face it, there’s only so many coffees you can fit into a week. Other strategies you might use could include inviting a contact to an event with you, sharing an article that you feel would interest them, connecting them with other people where there’s a mutual interest or advantage, referring them clients or sharing an offer or opportunity with them.
Keeping track of your network is made so much easy nowdays with smartphones, platforms like LinkedIn, and handy apps such as CamCard which allows you to photograph business cards which it uploads to your smartphone as well as offering a bunch of inhouse features.
If you’re got any networking questions, or you think you might need a little career inspiration, give Donna a call on 0419 12 0601. We provide in-person career services in Brisbane and remote services nationally.