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I’ve Relocated – How do I Rebuild my Local Network?

June 2, 2010

   I just had a friend of mine, Frank, recently take a job out-of-state.  Now he’s wondering how to build his local network … again.  I originally advised him that it would be similar to what he’s done before, such as he probably joined some groups, attended some association functions, attended some workshops, volunteered, etc.  Then, it got me to thinking, some folks never had to start over, so it could be considered a daunting task.  I’ve lived in multiple states, made cold calls by phone and Social Media, and am familiar with the potential interview scenario from Arizona, through a firm in Minnesota, for an actual job in Texas.  So, I believe I can offer some solutions for Frank, and others who may be experiencing the same as well.

Ideas for Networking in a new location.

No doubt most of you have heard that it’s not What you know, but Who you know.  Well, your networking and/or job search is no different.  The term networking was coined to describe the process of talking with people about opportunities.  It can differ from a casual conversation in that you have a specific goal, namely to find job opportunities, but it is a conversation nonetheless.  And, please don’t forget that a conversation is two people exchanging information.

The purpose of this discussion is to provide some basic tips, and insights to help you network more effectively.  Your personal agenda is to engage someone to benefit you, but you may have to give a little before the Return On Investment (ROI) is apparent.  The definition of networking is “to interact or engage in informal communication with others for mutual assistance or support.”  Certain points need to be stressed at this point:

  1. To be successful at networking, you must remember that what you’re doing is building relationships with people.
  2. Informal communication is just a cheap way of talking with people at any time, at any place, and on any topic.
  3. You need to develop a plan during the discussion to benefit the other person first, and work your needs in later. 
  4. Decide where is the best place for you to network so you can obtain the best results.
  5. Follow up to your conversations are key.

You should network all the time, not just when you need something.  Most people stop networking after finding work, but if you continue networking you will be prepared the next time you’re looking.  And in the mean time, by helping others, your own network will be much stronger.  Nothing is more rewarding when your network starts working for you.  The bottom line is that successful networking is mutual assistance, without the promise of immediate return.  I’ve been saying for years that it’s like going from Active to Passive, then back again … but, I never stop.

So, networking is like a garden that needs tending to.  It takes a little work, and perseverance.  The results won’t always happen right away, but as long as you develop a plan, and stick to it, networking will be successful.

Who are you going to network with today?

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