The best place for you to get your networking on might be the last place you’d imagine: at your current job. Whether you’re just getting started at a new place or you’ve been there for years, the connections you make at work can benefit your career for years to come. With a strong network, you can reach your career goals faster, and maybe even go out on your own (if that’s your thing). So what are you waiting for?
(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)
Why Network Where You Work?
Until you actually break down those barriers and talk to your colleagues, you’ll never know how each could make for a good member of your networking posse. Maybe that IT guy knows someone who’s perfect for helping you with your new website project. Or maybe your new business manager has the perfect experience to advise you on a role he heard about that could be perfect for you.
Relationships that you build today could even just be perfect sleeper connections down the road. That person you learn more about this year might be the one who passes on your name and can rave about all the good you do. You become a part of their network, too. It’s great!
When Should You Start?
One of the ideal places to begin networking is when asking personal questions isn’t the least bit awkward: when you’re just starting a new job. Monster points out that a great place to start is someone who used to have your job, but has been promoted. They can not only help you get going in your new role with some helpful tips, but also make a great connection as they climb the corporate ladder at your company.
How to Network Without a Literal Water Cooler
It’s easy to network with those you see every day or sit close to, but how do you cast your net a bit wider (and deeper) into your organization without coming off as some strange stalker in the break room? One way is to actually request work that takes you out of your routine. If you volunteer to join a inter-department group (think “employee engagement”) you will likely cross paths with new folks easily.
You can also look to your HR department for introductions to possible mentors. By all means, avoid interrogating everyone you meet. It’ll come off as creepy and possibly underhanded to others. Keep it mellow, don’t go barging in too strong, and you’ll make new connections, and a few new friends, in no time.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you network at work? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.