You may be used to meeting new people and making contacts wherever you go. However, if your plan is to try your luck with networking at your current place of work, you need to be a bit more careful and tactful than usual. After all, you don’t want to compromise your current position. But, it’s only natural that you want to explore your options. And the following tips can help you network at work successfully.
1. Volunteer for projects within your company
Volunteering for different projects and tasks within your company that may involve other departments is a great way to gain more exposure and meet new people. Obviously, something like this is a perfect “internal” networking opportunity. You can easily talk to other people from different departments and teams and discuss their work and projects. In this case, it won’t seem suspicious at all! Not to mention that the nature of the volunteer work may turn out to be an effective way to spruce up your resume.
2. Impress them consistently
In case a colleague or a client seems to be the perfect networking candidate to you, it’s essential that you proceed cautiously. Even if you work with them often, you can’t just assume that you can overstep your boundaries and suddenly start talking about other job opportunities with them. You have to take the slow path. Essentially, if you believe that someone you work with closely on a daily basis can be your ticket to networking success, try your hardest to excel at the tasks you do and manage for them. Make sure that their lives are easier because of you. And don’t hesitate to even get involved in their life a bit, just never get too personal. This kind of effort will show your colleague/client that you’re an irreplaceable asset.
3. Take your time
In order to network at work successfully, you must never rush this process. Actually, try to be extremely patient with it because people won’t react positively if you seem too eager to get another job through them, especially at work. It would seem like you’re trying to use them. In the end, the whole point is to know the right people and have those people think highly of you. Say you got to know plenty of influential people – what good would that turn out to be if those people knew nothing about your skills, personality and work ethic? Or worse, thought badly of you?
You have to take your time and gradually build a “relationship” with these colleagues/partners/clients who may be able to help you move forward with your career in the future.
4. Never resort to complaining
It’s all about being positive and spreading the positivity. Of course, do this in a completely professional manner. Make sure to refrain from badmouthing your current job, regardless of whether it has to do with the structure, finances, colleagues, managers, etc. It doesn’t matter if some things don’t work – when you’re trying to network within your work area, you have to remember that talking badly about your current position will only make you look bad.
5. Forget about sharing your secret
Keeping secrets at the workplace is not something known for its excellent success rate. Office gossip seems to be popular regardless of the niche and department. In that respect, you might want to keep quiet about your plans to change companies or departments until the deal is done. The colleagues you feel the closest to may not reveal this on purpose or to make things more difficult for you. But, this kind of topic may just pop up in a conversation and your confidant can slip up. Depending on who hears this, and the chances are that almost everyone will hear about it, your current position at work may become quite unfavorable. So, if your goal is to network at work successfully, keep your mouth shut about your plans.
There’s plenty you can do without becoming too obvious. With the right attitude, no one will guess that your small talks and other forms of exposure may actually have a motive such as a career step-up. It’s essential that you don’t make the mistake of easily trusting everyone around you even if you’re all on friendly terms. Moreover, keep in mind that networking is not just about asking people for help to get a new job; quite the contrary, it’s about doing your best for those people who could help you, so that you get on their good side before the time comes for you to act and then count on their support. And if you want your networking endeavors to be truly successful, make sure to never let your current job suffer! The whole point is to be on top of things.