As a young professional, building a personal portfolio of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) is important to sell yourself for a promotion or for a new position elsewhere. Young and inexperienced Gen Y’s have to quickly build those KSA’s or risk being stuck in a rut. How else can we leverage our expertise in social networking and web tools?
Building Networks is More Than Just LinkedIN
Building an online network is easy. Just point, click, and wait. But with Twitter, Facebook status updates, posts, pictures, applications, it just seems to be a shouting match. Eventually, it’s questionably spam.
As we go from one job to another job, we bring more and more experience and proprietary knowledge. We learn company methodologies, techniques, and materials. While I don’t condone “stealing” confidential information and jumping ship to share company secrets, your thought process is inspired by the newfound knowledge. Furthermore, during your tenure at a company, build relationships, both with your internal staff and with external clients as well. Foster those relationships, even if you go work somewhere else.
With this “black book” of contacts, you will be much more valuable to the new firm. It provides business relationships and possible new clients. Alternatively, those contacts can be resources for you to tap into for subject matter knowledge.
Ways to Build the Black Book
Here are some possible ways to build and foster those contacts:
- Start carrying a small journal around and jot down names and contacts you meet. Reflect upon that journal and write down the person’s interests.
- Buy a Rolodex and build an old fashion business card collection. For the more technologically savvy, scan or key the data into a contact database.
- Connect via LinkedIN if your contact is online.
- Participate in company sponsored networking events, seminars, conferences, etc. It’s a great opportunity to meet people in your field and to get names and contacts.
- Volunteer to be a part of a committee or team for company events.
The list goes on, but you get the point. The most important action item is to maintain in contact with your “black book” contacts. This can be as simple as an e-mail asking how they are and keeping in touch. Even better, give some free intelectual property as part of your keeping in touch. For example, if you are an advid social networker, send them some links to your favorite posts or recommend some services that can enhance their business.
How do you build your network? How do you keep in touch? How do you leverage your network at your new job?