A few years ago, a professional colleague approached me since she was in transition, having just lost her job. We were members of the same professional organization, but she was prohibited from attending on a regular basis by her supervisor who was also a member. So, she was turning to me for guidance and possible leads since I was one of a very few people that she got to know in the group. This saddened me and frustrated me at the same time.
Many job hunters will typically become lax with their professional connections which could be for resources, information, consulting opportunities or the next internal job. Maintaining a professional network while employed is the best way to for that unexpected job loss or advancement opportunity.
This is beyond what many are doing with social media, but serious connections where someone is more likely to refer you and put their own reputation on the line for you. That comes from a personal relationship that demonstrates trust, integrity, honesty, and professionalism. Do this by attending meetings, being involved in things, speaking to people on the phone, and occasionally being in touch by email. Be a contributing member of your professional community. Cast that net in many directions and connect with as many people as you can.
My colleague wasn’t doing that and she was also allowing her supervisor (her employer) to dictate her growth and development, her future. Don’t let that happen to you…. ever!
“One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it's making cold calls to strangers. Actually, it's the people who already have strong trust relationships with you, who know you're dedicated, smart, a team player, who can help you.”