Do we need to invest time to build our network?

1 February 2022 | 4 min read

Do we need to invest time to build our network?

This is the most underrated question, that we never ask ourselves when everything is good. If you are reading this blog post, ask yourself this simple question.

When was the last time did I meet or interact with someone outside of work or personal circle?

When was the last time did I spoke with someone from my previous work place?

If we answered “No” to the above questions, then it is time for us to think about it. For starters investing time in networking is as good as turning those above questions with answers on a weekly basis or bi-weekly basis. Recently I had my mentorship session with my mentor Doug McCollough and trust this was a genuine experience which he shared me -

“Most of my leads for leadership positions in Columbus, Ohio have been suggested to me by my professional network”.

Whether we are on job hunt or not on job hunt, expanding our professional network will help and give us great rewards. We generally try to update our resumes only when we are either looking for a new role or if we already lost our job. We generally try to update our LinkedIn profiles only when we are active in job search. So in those situations of dire need, it might sound very transactional when we reach out to our professional network, with whom we have not interacted for a long time. A good network is built when we do not consider our network only for transactional purpose.

Don’t wait for the rainy day to improve your network.

Some awesome tips on improving your network here by Shawn Charles.

It is always important to do intentional networking. Whether we need it now or not improving our networking game on a daily basis even before the rainy days will help us a lot.

From my personal experience, these are things which have worked for me in building my professional network.

  1. I keep regular touch with people, with whom I have worked in the past through LinkedIn or other forums.
  2. Attending local meetups and joining local Slack Groups, really helped me in improving my network here in Columbus, Ohio.
  3. Speaking at Conference and Code camps helped me in improving my network outside of Columbus, Ohio.
  4. Organizing meetups and conference through JavaScript and Friends has been a game changer for me in reaching out to wide variety of friends outside of my workplace and personal circle.
  5. Programs like Auth0 Ambassadors and Cloudinary MDE helped me in expanding my professional reach and building better connections with others who are part of the program.
  6. Sending connection requests with clear intent to people who are already working in roles where I want to work in future.
  7. Doing intentional networking on LinkedIn even when I am not looking for roles.
  8. Twitter spaces have been really helpful in connecting with like-minded friends and building a mutual network.

There is no single formula to build a network. Our aspirations change and hence the process which we can use to build a network also changes. But these were some steps which I have followed in improving my network the last 5 years.

Treat your network as an investment plan. Every financial guru will preach us to start to invest early in order to get good returns.

The same logic can be used to build our network. Starting early while attending college or even while attending boot camp really helps in expanding our reach when we finish those programs. Building genuine connections is more important rather than using someone’s time. If we have really got benefits from a connection, it is always important to thank them on how they were helpful.

This is the least we can do for those who has invested on us by offering their perspectives and suggestions or even helping us by opening the gates.

Express gratitude.

If you have benefited from an early networking then pass on the benefits to future aspirants by helping them. The first step in improving your network is to build your social profile on LinkedIn or Twitter based on your preference.

Build your network based on your aspirations and dreams and don’t wait for the rainy day to start networking.

Some Awesome People to Follow on Twitter