Professional Networking now and in the future
When I was laid off a few years ago, my former company was so kind to provide its employees with an agency that would provide advice, resume building critique and workshops to help get you back on your feet quickly from this life altering blow that we were hit with. I was one a few who decided to take full advantage of this service as I had been with the company for 12 years and really felt lost about how to go about getting myself re-employed.
Networking was the catch phrase used to motivate us poor laid off workers and to remind us it’s not what you know but who know that will get you back in the work saddle. I did my due diligence and researched my options, I joined Meet Ups, Twitter and LinkedIn but in the 16 months that I was unemployed I can’t really say I ever actually made it to any events. I eventually completely fell of the Twitter bandwagon and LinkedIn was just yet another social media account to add to the myriad of others that I have collected along the way.
So, now the question has been posed: what is my present strategy for networking and what activities and commitments will I be making in the next 6 to 12 months? To that end, I have no hard and fast strategy on networking. Currently, I do monitor LinkedIn, I have groups that I have joined and occasionally, I will post to a group if it’s relevant to my present position. As part of my social media strategy for work, I set aside time to monitor Twitter and post religiously 3 times a day, Monday to Friday. I have my Meet Up account which I get alerts on new groups or events that are going on in my group. However, I have made it to very few events in the 5 years that I have been using any of these services. In all honestly, I can see this trend continuing because I find this method of trying to make a network extremely artificial and forced which goes against the grain of who I am.
I have a very active life as I spend my weekends hanging out with friends and family. I am also currently working full time and I try to travel as much as I can as well I am taking 2 courses and I play sports several times a week. This hasn’t exactly left me with a ton of time in my schedule to fit in a strategy of networking. Add to the fact that most of the events that I have any interest in attending are located in downtown Toronto during the week which is next to impossible to make from the outskirts of the Greater Toronto Area (Toronto traffic is atrocious). This means that my plan is very simple and virtually unchanged; I will continue to monitor the social channels that I am already a part of to see if there are any events that catch my interest and if by some lucky miracle that the stars, the planets, my schedule and location align then I will commit to attend an event.