Networking should be something that’s done throughout your career. This is because you want to constantly create new relationships while still maintaining your current ones. Anytime you only network when you’re out of a job, people become wary of your motives. In contrast, if you network continuously throughout your career, there will be a constant flow of opportunities and help that will come your way. There will be more people ready to lend a hand when you need it.
So start networking today; don’t wait until you’re unemployed. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Build a friendship – The point of starting your networking early is to have enough time to build relationships with people whom you genuinely like. That way, you won’t need to show a fabricated side of yourself just to get people to like you. When you create real friendships with your network, it will be easier to ask for help than it would be with acquaintances you barely know.
Make yourself available – A lot of us work hard—sometimes even so hard that we forget to have a life. Set a limit on how much time you spend a week in your career, and find time to do other things. If you become too engrossed in your work and sudden circumstances force the company to release you, you’ll be left with nothing.
Go to events – The events you should go to don’t always need to be business-related; they can be conventions in an industry that you enjoy. You just need to put yourself in a position where you can make new connections. Small talk can go a long way when followed up.
Make it a priority – Your main priority right now might be advancing up the career ladder, but making new friends along the way wouldn’t hurt. You never know when a new friend today might become a future business partner or boss.
Networking in advance will put you in a better position to utilize your network when you need it. Besides, when you start early, there’s less pressure to make new connections because they’ll come naturally. When it comes to networking, remember the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.