”I’m known as a steady worker but don’t get the choice projects. I know I need to get out there more but I’ve always been shy and don’t want to toot my own horn. What can I do?”
This was asked of me by a financial analyst during a career advancement workshop. Actually, there was a lot she could do. Let’s first tackle the networking issue. A strong and vibrant network requires an investment of time and effort, but the process does not have to be overwhelming. Here are four strategies.
1. Learn from others.
Who networks well in your organization or in your community? What exactly do they do, and what do they say? Ask them about their view of networking and how they build and use relationships. Try similar tactics or approaches.
2. Work with others.
Volunteer for assignments or projects that give you an opportunity to work across functions. One of the best ways to build connections is to work together on something. A fringe benefit is the visibility you will gain with people outside your department. Whatever it is – a presentation to senior management, giving a plant tour, working on a cross-functional team – raise your hand and take that step forward.
3. Be an information hub.
Make a list of your information assets. What do you know? What information does your group hold? How might this information be useful to others? Make a plan to get the word out – not as gossip but rather as help to others.
4. Bring others into your world.
One week you may ask a teammate after a meeting for an opinion on a problem that was discussed. Next, you could invite a peer to lunch. Or ask someone from IT to give a short presentation on the new system at your next staff meeting. Keep up the once-a-week practice and soon it will be routine.
Career Success Tip:
Network in all areas and levels of your company. You never know who may be in a position to help you or refer you. Many tend to think it’s best to make friends at the top. However, to be effective and actually make it to the top, you’ll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. Also see Don’t Settle for One Network, Build Three, and Power Networking: How Well Do You Do It.
Do you want to develop Career Smarts?
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- Find career and leadership boosters in the Smart Moves Blog.
- Copyright © 2012 Marcia Zidle career and leadership coach.