Resolve to nurture your network.
Yes, it is important not to burn bridges throughout your career; you never know who your next boss will be. Equally as important is nurturing your existing professional relationships; current and past colleagues, classmates, and managers are just as likely to move around and meet new people as you are. Take advantage of their network. When you maintain a good relationship with an individual, their network inevitably becomes your network. You know what they say: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
In order for your network to grow, you must feed it regularly. Try to commit to at least one networking event per quarter. Follow up with the professionals you meet at the event and continue the conversations you had in person. Ask a question, share information, or simply thank them for taking the time to speak with you at the event.
Networking is still one of the best ways to land a new job. Whether or not you’re currently employed, networking should still be included in your career management strategy. Think of it like flossing: you don't always remember to do it and you may not even like to, but it's good for you and you know you should be better about it.
It’s never too late to start on these 5 Networking New Year’s Resolutions
- I will look for networking events on sites like Meetup and LinkedIn
- I understand that networking comes in many forms; I will attend a class, learn a skill, and meet professionals who (clearly) want to learn about the same things I do
- I will email mentors and other professional contacts at least once per quarter
- I will actively and meaningfully contribute, both online and in person, to discussions related to my field of work
- I will ensure my information is maintained and updated and that my network is aware of any changes
NASA Organizational Chart: November 1961; By NASA (Mariner-Venus 1962 Final Project Report) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons