We’re diving into career networking this week, and specifically – finding what opportunities for networking lie within your circle of family and friends. So many of my clients tell me they’ve been in their job for so long, they are no longer sure how to network. The first place I direct them is to their network of family and friends. Granted, you may feel a bit funny about approaching your "peeps" from a professional perspective, but it’s a great place to start the networking process. Over the next several days I’ll give you some tips to ease you into the practice.
Tip #1: Don’t take for granted that people understand what you do.
You told your cousins that you work as an account manager… and to think all these years they assumed you did people’s taxes for a living! If you are a Friends tv show fan – remember that none of Chandler’s friends ever really knew what he did for a living! This can happen. Sometimes we want to keep work and personal life separate, so we do a great job of doing that. So much so that others don’t know exactly what it is we do. You may have to remind them.
If you’ve been keeping your professional life under wraps for too long, it’s time to update people on what you do. Find ways to work your job into conversations. Send out a group email with a virtual business card and a little note explaining that you’d like to reach out and perform some professional networking. It may feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but if you keep at it and be up front about what you’re looking for, soon both you and your pals will get used to this new topic of conversation.
Have fun with it.