Networking Strategically is Key

Networking StrategicallyNetworking strategically is key to step #3 of the Cure for Career Insanity.

What the heck is networking strategically? It is networking with a defined goal and a strategy to get to that goal. Let’s look at some examples:

  • You are unemployed and are looking for a job. Your goal might be to get to know the recruiter who handles positions for a company, or the hiring manager for current and future positions.
  • You are employed, but want out of your current company. You probably have the same goal as the unemployed job seeker, BUT you may have a different strategy because you do not want your current employer to know.
  • You are looking into a career change. Your want to meet professionals in the field that you wish to switch into, with a goal to decide on a new career path.
  • You either want to move up or laterally in your current company. Your goal might be to meet and build relationships outside of your current management chain.

The goal in all of these examples is to build key and strategic relationships with people who can help you define what is next by asking for what you want in your career.

There are two groups I want you to focus on first before you start networking strategically.

Your Tribe

In my book, Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers, which I co-authored with Susan Lahey, your tribe is described as follows:

Your tribe is the group of people who will get you through your Career Pivot, because believe me,with all this change, facing uncertain prospects and being humble while asking for help, you are going to need some people rooting for you. Your tribe is also the group you can call on for an introduction or some advice over coffee. And they can call on you, too–whether for themselves, or for a friend who wants some intelligence about your areas of expertise. It’s like the barn raising communities where you all help your neighbor build his barn, knowing—without asking– he’ll show up with lunch and a hammer to help you raise yours.

The reality is we can maintain a maximum of about 150 relationships in our lives. Your tribe is the key to success when networking strategically.

Your Fan Club

Peter Arnell wrote about fan clubs in his book Shift: How to Reinvent Your Business, Your Career, and Your Personal Brand. From this book, I learned about the importance of fan clubs to any job search. These are the people who care about you and want you to succeed. These are the people who will cheer you on and you will lean on when you are the most discouraged.

In 2002, I had a near fatal bicycle accident which was my wake-up call to do something different with my life. I went off to teach high school math at an inner city high school. I built a fan club that supported me through that very difficult first year of teaching.

In my next post on the Cure for Career Insanity I will discuss implementing a plan that will get you networking strategically.

Does this sound interesting? Are you suffering from Career Insanity?