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Thursday, March 24, 2011

It’s Not Called “net-sit” or “net-eat”, It’s Called “net-work” – by Kay Kelison



What gives you warm fuzzies? Do you appreciate the value of the social network that you are creating around you? More than the warm fuzzies; do you realize many other benefits that you give when you’re involve with networking opportunities in the communities? They are endless and exist everywhere.

Newsflash: I’m not just talking about “social networks” in the digital form. I’m talking about helping out those who need your help, joining an organization, or simply stopping by that next Tweet-up event. It will be time well spent.

If you are currently looking for work as well, it can serve as another way to connect with potential employers or to build new relationships with individuals that can help you with your job search. It would be a good time to learn new skills or enhance skills you already have. Use it as a resume builder. It’s perfectly acceptable to list societies and affiliations on your resume. You may have a mentor that can serve as a great professional or personal reference as well. Choose an organization around which you have a passion. Your hours could lead to a permanent, paid position with the organization or those that see your work valuable. For example, if you are seeking work as an engineer, offer your time as an engineer and work on their website. Hiring managers look for talent that aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and are willing to go above and beyond the expected.

More and more employers are recognizing the value of in-person networking. Like Microsoft, we are encouraged as employees to become more involved in organizations and volunteer our time to give back to our local community. And since it is essential that businesses be a responsible corporate citizen, employees who are more willing to give of their personal time are highly valued. Naturally there are benefits to the employer by this kind of involvement; however, there are also direct benefits to the employees as well. This allows you to develop new relationships or advance your career as well as just enjoying the fun of networking.

There are a ton of networking groups you can become involved with, depending on your available time, interests, desired benefits, and willingness to be involved. Most choose to join an organization that is connected to their profession. These groups offer professional development and other tangible in-person benefits as well as online resources such as blogs or fan pages and the ability to connect with other professionals.

Other forms of networking opportunities include the more casual contact groups, such as a local special interest groups or meet-ups, etc. These groups offer participants an opportunity to meet other community members with similar interests. They may host and offer special programs to you as a member or the social opportunity to meet other like people on a more casual level. These groups are always looking for volunteers to serve on committees, provide leadership opportunities and unlimited business contacts.

These groups casual or professional can give you the ability to give something back to your community while making valuable contacts. These groups are often nationally or internationally based, but they have direct local benefits, with members giving back to their communities through volunteer projects or monetary support. They meet regularly, both creating friendships and building business relationships.

Some networks may target a specific age or gender groups, just as young professionals or women’s business organizations. Despite how great all these networking opportunities may sound, some people will struggle to find the time to attend regular meetings or meet the requirements of the organization. There are still many ways to network outside of these structured organizations. Volunteer at your church, your child’s school; join a local low key club. These will benefit your family as well as your career by building bonds and making invaluable connections. Non-profits are always seeking volunteers – offer a few hours of your time to your favorite cause such as the American Cancer Society or Girl Scouts. Your child’s group leader may be your potential future employer.

If you are serious about developing your social network, there are no quick fixes: you must go out get involved and meet people that could be your boss, co-worker or reference. Don’t let chance decide where you would like to spend your time and efforts. Give back, take your time and choose an organization or group that will provide the desired benefits, for the time you want to offer. No matter what group you end up participating in – because it’s not called “net-sit” or “net-eat”, it’s called “net-work”. You must ‘be engaged’ be a contributor, not just a joiner. Be engaged – offer your experience, skills and talents to those you associate with. You WILL meet new friends, strengthen your personal and professional as well as provide a means to grow your relationships.

Posted via email from Kay Kelison's Digital-Log

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