Don't Wait Until You Need a Job!

Imagine this scenario.

You’ve been working for the same company for the last few years. You have a routine. You’re comfortable. Except, you walk into work on Monday morning, and you get called into your boss’s office. “The company is changing, and we have decided to eliminate your position.” For anyone who thinks this won’t happen to you – I have talked to hundreds of candidates over the years who found themselves in transition and were shocked by it. It’s unexpected – more often than not, the writing wasn’t on the wall.  

What do you do now? You haven’t had to keep your resume updated. You haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in over a year. You have no idea where to start looking for a new job, because you thought this would never happen. And now you are in panic mode – maybe even desperate, which is not optimal conditions for a successful job search.

The reality is that this scenario happens every day – unless you own the company, you are not immune from being released. You don’t have to feel guilty about networking and exploring opportunities before you actually need to find your next job – in fact, you owe it to yourself.

Here are some reasons you really need to network now.

You can build relationships before you actually need help

Nothing is worse than reaching out to someone you don’t have a relationship with, and immediately asking them to bend over backwards to help you find your next opportunity or make introductions. Instead, take the time to connect with individuals in your industry ahead of time, and build genuine connections. Nothing turns me off more than someone who I don’t know very well pinging me for intro after intro. Trust me, I’m more than happy to spread the love and connect good people – but I have a heck of a lot more confidence and willingness to do it for someone I have known and networked with over the years.  

You’ll be one of the first to learn about new opportunities

Networking with the right people can provide a channel to find out about new opportunities as they become available. You can then explore opportunities as they become available to keep yourself updated on the hidden job market. And there is such a thing – many positions never hit the job boards – some jobs are filled through one’s network. The stronger the network – the easier it is to do.  

You have an opportunity to pay it forward to others

It’s not all about how others can help you when you really need it. Networking also involves paying it forward to people who could use your help. It could be as simple as making an introduction to a connection of yours at a target company or providing support and advice in a colleague’s job search.

Keep in mind that positive actions towards others will generate a better return when you might find yourself in the same place in the future.

You will bring inspiration back to work

If you choose to network with others within your industry or career field, attend events, and meet new people – you will learn new things. You will gain different perspective. You will have new resources for your current position and company. In this ever-changing world where it’s hard to keep up with the latest technologies and trends – you’ll stay informed. Which in turn will make you more valuable to your company and colleagues.

It takes time, effort, and nurturing, but it will pay off in more ways than one. Don’t wait until you need a job!

Mikal Harden