Say that you have landed that plum job that you have been dreaming about. Breathe a sigh of relief, congratulate yourself, and dive right into your new position.
But does that mean that you can now leave behind all that you were doing while searching for a job?
Not when it comes to networking.
There is a quote by Masatoshi Naito that aptly describes today’s world: “Everything is in a process of change, nothing endures…”
Because of this lack of permanence, continuous networking is more important than ever. Even if you are not part of the under-40 set that tends to change jobs more frequently than people did in the past, you could still find yourself in the midst of a change.
In a post on Career Hub, Sital Ruparelia advises, “Think long term relationships rather than short term job leads and opportunities.”
It makes sense. Think about how you would feel if you met someone who needed the kind of help you could give. Being a kind person, you help that individual out. Then you hear nothing for five years. Suddenly, he’s knocking on your door again, asking for your help.
Wouldn’t you be confused? Where has he been all this time? Wouldn’t you feel a little used? He only seems to come around when you can help him out.
If you network only during your time of need, you are limiting the possibilities that could be available to you.
Here’s another way to think about it — say you are doing well in your career, and you meet someone who is in need of help. You help that person and build a professional relationship that goes back and forth over the years. Five years later, you are the one who is in need of significant help. Because of the relationship you have sustained over the years, that individual will be much more likely to help you with your needs.
I’m not saying that you need to call or even e-mail every person with whom you have networked. But using tools like LinkedIn and Twitter or participating on a forum dedicated to your field will keep your name out there and show how you participate in your greater community.
How has keeping up your network benefited you?