Networking 101 For IT Leaders

Even IT Leaders Need To Work At Developing Their Professional Networks
Even IT Leaders Need To Work At Developing Their Professional Networks

I don’t care if you’re the best IT Leader this world has ever known, you may still find yourself without a job sometime – especially in this economy. It’s at this point that you will want to rely on the contacts which you have made during your current employment.

However, despite the fact that most of us have access to reliable broadband, along with smartphone technology – which should make networking easier than ever – many of us have become complacent about doing so. It always seems to be something that we’re just too busy to do.

Yeah, yeah we all know that we should have been networking like crazy all along; however, the sad truth is that all too often we neglect this career responsibility until it’s too late and we’re out on the street. What’s an IT leader to do then?

I’m sure that even the worst networkers among you have a stack of other people’s business cards somewhere. The sad truth is that every day our networks get just a bit more out of date. If you were to go through your current list of contacts, how many of those do you think would have moved on to new jobs and phone numbers / email addresses?

The reality of modern IT Leader life is that you always have to be ready to move on. You may not see the end of your current job coming; however, when it comes you need to make sure that it is no surprise to you. The new career rule is that you always have to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.

So how do you jump start a professional network that you’ve allowed to grow old? The first step is to find the people who WERE in your network. There are many different ways to do this:

  • Email them (often there may be an auto reply with their new email address)
  • Use the Internet to search for them – this is when it’s great to have contacts with unusually spelled names!
  • Ask coworkers to reconnect you to people that they’ve stayed in touch with better than you.

Need I mention online professional social networks like LinkedIn and Plaxo? These days everyone seems to be using these and one of the nice benefits is that once you connect to them, you’ll be able to reach them even if they change jobs.

There’s more, but we’ll talk about that next time…

Is your professional network up-to-date? How much time do you spend working on it each week? Have you ever had to use it? Did it work out for you? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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