Maintaining your professional network is important in every season of your career. When things are really good it’s easy to forget how important it is to maintain them, and then we tend to react when things go south by calling on relationships we haven’t maintained. Avoid these pitfalls and make sure that in every season of your career you work at nurturing the relationships within your network.
When you’re in a healthy season in your career, look for opportunities to help others. We’ve all needed help along our journey but it’s equally important to provide this for others. Reach out to former bosses, coworkers, and those you’ve connected with along the way to check in. Ask how they are, how their jobs are going, and if appropriate, offer help. Also, offer, to connect them with your current employer if you have openings they may be interested in.
This month I’ve been sharing advice from my first few months in a new job. Since I’ve been with my company, I’ve had many opportunities to connect with former coworkers, but I’ve also been able to help several friends get a job at my company as well. It’s been a win-win for my company and my network. This has been a great season to look for ways to help both inside and outside of my network. I’ve recently partnered my company with a non-profit organization local to our community that helps give people second chances after incarceration, homelessness, etc. It’s been the most amazing opportunity to give jobs to people who truly want work in a job market where there’s a strange lack of that desire.
When I first began writing this blog I sat and thought about how many of my jobs have come about because of my network. I could only think of one professional job I didn’t receive/find out about through my network. I found one job on Indeed and applied, interviewed, and was given that opportunity the organic way. All the others have been with the help from my connections which is so incredible after nearly 15 years.
As you’re getting settled in your new job, carve out a small amount of time each week to nurture your network. Keep those relationships healthy. Look for ways to encourage, help, and connect others. It’s an extremely rewarding way to spend your time and it will be a blessing. It also ensures you have somewhere to go when you need help.
Here are a few ideas of how to begin:
- On LinkedIn, post updates from your new career, but also send messages to people in your network just to check in.
- Send handwritten cards. I use to send a handwritten card with encouragement or a thanks every single Friday for years. It’s an incredible habit to give gratitude and encouragement – couldn’t we all use a little more of both?
- Set up lunches. I like to do 1-2 lunches with people in my network each month. Don’t overcommit especially while you’re in a new job, but look for times to catch up and to be creative with other people.
The Bible says it best: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
Becca Christensen is a Crossroads Career Board Member and the editor of this blog since 2020. She recently moved into accounting within the automotive industry. She’s an avid reader, an enthusiastic football fan, and competitive at any and all board games.