Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late

As layoffs continue to hit a lot of us, it means that even more of my friends and colleagues are feeling the effect. What’s tripped me out lately is the lackadaisical attitude that people have had on networking. Those being laid off are just now creating LinkedIn profiles, wanting to build sites/blogs and joining Twitter. I’m, by all means, supportive and will help them out in any way possible but networking is a thing that doesn’t happen overnight and takes time to build mutually-beneficial relationships/connections.

To backtrack a bit, this post came about as I tweeted about my feelings on the topic and Arik Hanson dropped a reply that struck me:

Shocking to me that people think LinkedIn is a short-term solution.

Short-term

That’s kind of scary if you ask me but it’s a bit of reality. I’m glad they’re at least being proactive now, but with more layoffs and companies shutting down, the competition out there is even tougher (trust me I know) and setting yourself apart from the crowd is key. Taking the necessary steps before having to go through this and giving networking and building relationships some time to marinate, as it’s not a short-term solution, will ultimately benefit you during your search.

So, please, if you have a job, or not, and haven’t setup a LinkedIn profile or aren’t networking with people already, do it now.

8 comments On Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late

  • Networking and nurturing relationships is a 24/7, 365 day a year job. Shocks me to think that there are people out there that think networking is something that should be there for them “when it’s convenient.” By building your network year-round, you’ll not only have a cadre of experts and colleagues to rely on for business advice and counsel, you’ll have folks who know what you’re interested in and passionate about. So, sooner or later, as a result, the jobs come to YOU by way of your network. Many folks clearly understand this concept, but still surprises me how many don’t.

  • I work in college career services and still struggle with students understanding just how valuable networking is. What stupifies me are the # of people who should know better – people with experience.

    Now, with the state of the US economy, several of my colleagues and friends have found themselves out of work. The ones that maintained a network have had success leveraging those contacts and were back to work quickly. Others that didn’t see the benefit of building and maintaining relationships are still out of work – and don’t seem to even be interested in networking. They want, want, want but don’t want to give anything in return.

  • Digital Rochester is a community of more than 4,000 people with ties to technology in the greater Rochester NY region. One of our several activities is the hosting of free monthly networking events for the general public; we’ve done this for more than eight years now. It’s an opportunity to connect with 150-200 professionals from across the region with no particular effort on your part – and it even includes free beer! But, we find that most people only think that they have time for networking when they are out of work. They come with an expectation that those of us who put in the 365/year networking effort will magically open doors for them. And, they leave when they’ve landed in the new position – until the next time that they need us. I do what I can because I believe that ‘paying it forward’ ultimately does help our community to thrive, but I work a lot harder for the people that have stayed connected for years.

  • @Arik – Thanks again for the inspiration and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Your comment wraps everything up into the WHY of networking.

    @Claudine – That must be mind numbing being in an educational environment where some still don’t understand the benefit of constantly networking. Hopeful real-life examples, like those of some of your friends, shed some light to others.

    @Juli – That’s fantastic what you’re doing over at Digital Rochester. A lot of people seem to have the take mentality without the giving of effort. It definitely makes you reluctant at times to help those type of people, but like you said – paying it forward not only helps the community thrive but gives good karma back your way.

  • Amen to this! I have been noticing the same thing as you can imagine with tons of friends and former colleagues in the newspaper industry. Networking is so important and having a network when hard times hit is worth it’s weight in gold. I have seen more newbies to Facebook in the last few months than you can shake a stick at, and LinkedIn as well. this is all good, that they are jumping in but a little bit of foresight would have been nice.

  • I think a lot of people hesitate to network because they feel kind of “cheesy” about it (for lack of a better word). Like, “isn’t it kind of aggressive to reach out to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while?” The good news is, in this economy *everyone* is interested in strengthening their relationships, and they’ll be glad to have you take the first step! I believe most of those who hesitate to network just need to imagine those on the other end as happy recipients. Great post!

  • @Angela – Right. The best thing we can do is help them and educate them that networking isn’t just a “when times are rough” thing, but a 365 thing. Appreciate your thoughts.

    @Kellye – What sticks out in your thought is the word “aggressive”. We really HAVE to be aggressive, in anything that we do, if we expect to get results. In a project for a company, learning the piano, or networking – if you aren’t aggressive in your actions then you’ll remain mediocre and ultimately just blend in with the crowd. Thanks for making me think even more! 🙂

  • A wise man once told me: “build your network before you need it.” So I did that ever since and I’ve been graced with good fortunate and many opportunities. Of course there’s been some trial and error along the way but I’ve always had a network of people to help along the way.

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