During Covid-19 is a great time to renew and expand your connections. Between 10% and 50% of individuals looking to improve their careers find opportunities through networking. These numbers will float up or down depending upon the range of your contacts, your relationships with them, and their willingness to actively support your efforts in the marketplace. There are three levels of networking, like a series of concentric circles: An inner ring, a center ring and an outer ring.
INNER RING: These are the people who are closest to you, know what you are capable of achieving, are willing to assist your job search and position you favorably in the marketplace. This group is usually past bosses, peers, subordinates, professors, classmates, friends or family. It’s anyone who can vouch for your potential contribution, give testimony to high performance and in general become an active supporter of your value to a new organization. They are in the best position to move your job search forward. This is the first group of people that you need to tap into. They are also the people who can introduce you to those individuals in the Center Ring.
CENTER RING: These are the people who are in your industry or function. They also may be recommended to you by the people in the Inner Ring. They are usually a friend of a friend. They can be professionals that you meet at an association meeting. The Alumni Association of your school is in this group. This is where you meet others like yourself who know of an opening within their organization or can give you “inside” information about a merger, expansion or reorganization of a company that may need a person like you.
OUTER RING: These are people you probably don’t know directly, but have been referred to you by others. They are your third level of contact and are the most remote.
These are few things you might do to expand your networking “bubble”:
- Foster relationships within all three rings of the circle. Ask each contact, “Who do you know that I should talk to? Can you introduce us?” Ask each one for 2 other names.
- Ask, “What are the upside/downside in their industry”. Then ask, “What are the job opportunities?” And then, “Do you know what they’re looking for in a candidate?”
- Do any of your contacts need help? Are they needing referrals for another job? This is a great reason for checking in. If they’re looking, you can help each other.
- Reinvigorate dormant relationships, especially at the Center Ring level
- In-person networking events have moved online: Professional organizations, Alumni association and networking websites like LinkedIn or Meet-Up
- Increase your visibility – Write articles, create content blogging, or videos
Now is a great time to build up your network connections during social distancing. Prepare for the next 12-month evolution and transition of the marketplace. Those who prepare now will be ready for when the right job comes along.
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