While it may seem to go without saying that you can increase the number and quality of the opportunities you receive by staying engaged with others some fail to realize the importance of this seemingly simple concept. Successful professionals realize the importance of staying engaged and active with their networks and ensuring time is built into most days for this career sustaining activity.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Willie Sutton. It’s alleged that he would often reply to reporter’s inquiries into why he robbed banks by saying “because that’s where the money is.” Although in his 1976 book Where the Money Was, Sutton denies having said it. The same premise applies to staying engaged—to thrive in your career you must be where the opportunities are!
Engagement at Work
How visible you are matters to your career. By staying engaged you help others get to know you and learn about your capabilities. You will be better positioned to add value to new contacts when you spend time with others and learn about their needs and discover how you can add value to their lives. You can be a resource for other professionals and your peers by sharing your expertise and the insight you’ve gathered from past activities related to their work. Within your work place, this type engagement can help others better understand and adapt to the culture and build cohesiveness. You can also connect your peers with others and support their development while being known as someone who adds value.
It’s easier for others to consider you for opportunities because they know you if you network consistently with purpose within your organization and externally within your industry and with professionals in other industries. Networking may also result in you discovering that you’re interested in using your expertise within another industry. By networking you position yourself to learn about other industries, companies and opportunities.
Networking should be a natural part of what professionals do, although it isn’t natural for many. Too many individuals realize the importance of networking to a job search when they need a new position. It’s important to network before you need to and stay connected with others and make it easy for them to think of you for opportunities.
If you’re someone who dreads networking events and wonder why you’re really networking remember that to be considered for opportunities you must be where they are—often connections are made and relationships strengthened at networking events. Go with a purpose and decide your objectives in advance. You may want to connect with other professionals with similar interests or access to opportunities. Plan as much as possible in advance, enjoy the events and reflect upon the conversations and connections afterward to determine if you’re on a path toward achieving your goals. If not, revise your strategy and continue networking. Consider developing a cultivation strategy to grow mutually beneficial relationships. Contact me with questions or to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org.