The time to build your network is when you don’t need it.
The time to build your network is when you can focus on building relationships and when you are in a position to pursue the opportunities that an expanding network creates, even if that pursuit takes you in directions you did not originally intend.
This week I returned to my alma mater, and the SHRM-UTSA chapter where my HR journey began, to speak with students on the importance of building a network. We talked about the importance of human connection, using LinkedIn, and strategies for establishing themselves as experts in their fields.
“The time to build your network is now”, I told the students in attendance.
My advice to professionals is the same:
Don’t wait until you are searching for a job to build relationships with professionals in your field. Real connections take time and reciprocation. Don’t wait to connect with your peers. They share a starting point with you that is powerful and will remain so as each pursues their own path over the coming years.
Don’t build a network based solely on what you want or think someone can do to advance your career. Build genuine relationships that will stand the test of time.
Find ways to help others do what you have done. Share your experience and the knowledge you have gained along the way freely.
THAT’S how you build a network that works.