Lately, I’ve been seeing quite a few articles suggesting that passive networking is the way to go: Social media connections, emails, and even attending networking events created by others can be passive forms of networking. There’s nothing wrong with these activities being a part of your networking strategy, but they should not be all you do to connect. Here’s a few types of networking, including the above, and how to use them actively as a part of your career management strategy.
Inviting connections on LinkedIn is a great way to expand your online network, but are you doing it actively? Or just passively adding the connections LinkedIn suggests? To be an active participant in social media networking, google a few of the companies you dream of working for someday. Then, search for connections who work there, or who have worked there. Those are now contacts you have actively sought out for the insider knowledge and additional connections that can help you prepare for and land your dream job.
While email is a great way to touch base and stay on a recruiter’s or contact’s radar, to actively network, you really do need some face time. Even as little as once or twice a year, invite your connections to coffee, lunch, or to meet up at a networking event that would interest both of you.
Simply attending a networking event planned and executed by someone else is a fairly passive form of in-person networking. While planning and running your own networking event is ideal, many busy executives just don’t have that kind of time. Consider presenting as an industry expert at an event, as this helps build your reputation and makes you an attractive connection for others to pursue. Even if you choose to simply attend, do so actively, by preparing ahead of time by searching the list of those who plan to attend to make a short list of those with whom you would like to connect, and plan your introduction and elevator pitch for the event. Plan your exit strategy, too, so you don’t get trapped in unproductive conversation.
Search for value
Searching for value in networking events, articles, and workplace conversations is an important part of active networking. Collect information about open positions, job seekers, and industry news, and then use those facts to add value to your conversations with your favourite Executive Recruiters. That will keep you actively top-of-mind for them!
Plan ahead, and decide what you want from your networking efforts. A job? A reference? A new connection or three? Then aim your efforts to reach those networking goals. These simple tips on how to make your networking efforts more active, more productive, and more useful take only a little more time than your current passive approach. Yet, you’ll find the extra time worthwhile in terms of results.