Mixing up your network

DIVERSIFY & Make a Plan

You will be hard pressed to switch careers if you only speak to people in your current industry or hang out with your high school friends.  This is one time in your life that letting go of strict rules and reaching out beyond your priority list of friends is going to serve your career.  Diversifying and networking in ways can help in a career downturn or change.

Here are my top tips and simple solutions to mix up your networking.

1. Baseline.  Who do you know right now? You can search facebook and linkedin by groups. Who are the 5-10 people you spend the most time with in an out of work?

2. Define your outer circle: List the 25-45 people who are significant in your work life. Do a quick inventory and evaluate the how many people are in your company today and if they are in your industry. 

3. Expand. Who have you worked with previously that you liked working with but haven’t kept in touch with? Maybe they have a new job, new city or can help you re-engage in your community.

4. Schedule it. I even add future calendar reminders to reach out, set up coffees or check in after someone went on vacation.

5. This next tip isn’t as cringe-worthy as it might sound. Make a request during every interaction with your network,  but don’t make it about your career. Ask for book recommendations, a DR recommendation for your child, names of someone that you remind them of in a different industry.  

4. Be patient. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t hear back right away. Try again in a month or move onto the next person you are talking to. Networking connections never die. Don’t look for immediate returns. If you are consistent people will remember that you reached out.

Write me a networking career success story in the comments below.

Lynn Mull