Step 5: Building Relationships

Step 5 in the Career Plan series is to build relationships.  Although this is something that we all seem to intuit, it cannot be emphasized enough.  In many instances in the business world, it is who you know, and not what you know that makes the difference between you or someone else getting the job. This may be seen as favoritism or nepotism, depending on how you know the person, but the point is that you must have a network, or you are unknown. In order to get the advantage, you must stand out. If you have someone ‘on the inside’ who knows your abilities and your style, you have a much better chance.

How do you network? Where do you meet the people who can make a difference in your field? There are many places you can connect with professionals in your field. Join a club that has a local group but is a nationally known group or affiliation.  Go to networking events at your alma mater, or a local university. Most schools have a small business network in the area and can direct you to people who can be very helpful in either your search, your personal growth, or become part of your network.  Utilize the internet as often as you can for business purposes and previous co-workers. Only make solid connections with people who truly know what you can do, or who can be helped by your services.

Once you make connections, it is important to maintain them and work toward lasting, meaningful relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.  Be there for your network and do what you can for the people you are connected to – offer recommendations to them when deserved, and they will respond in kind.

A leaders learning never ends.

~ by nicolelynnott on August 7, 2010.

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