CWBN provides you with effective online promotion for your business, plus business resources and networking connections.
By working together, we create a greater online presence that benefits all of us.

Your Connections & Marketability
Are What Set You Apart
In This Increasingly Competitive Work Environment

by Rosanne Beers
Career Coach

As a career consultant, one of the saddest scenarios I face is when my clients tell me upon termination that they don't have professional contacts to assist them in a job search. Earlier this year, in fact, a client said to me, "The only contacts I have are at my company, and they're in the same boat I am, or they're being transferred."
You may not be able to control whether or not you lose your job to downsizing or reorganization, but you can position yourself to be in a good spot if you are challenged by an unforeseen termination. Today, your connections and marketability are your security.
Empower yourself with the answers to these vital questions:
  • How can I assess my contact base and develop or expand reciprocal relationships before I need them
  • Where can I find a wide-range of often overlooked formal and informal networking opportunities?
  • How can I use my group involvement as a springboard to a personal public relations campaign?

Reciprocal Relationships

The best time to develop contacts is before you need them. Networking is an ongoing process, one that involves give and take with many people. It's fun and rewarding.
Start by becoming aware of who you know. You need a way of organizing your thoughts. Here are two ideas:
  • Devise a timeline. Leave room to note things like employer, position, special projects, volunteer work, organizational affiliations, leadership roles, committee appointments, life events, significant people, travel destinations, etc. for each interval. Now you can develop a comprehensive list of contacts.
  • Write headings representative of your various roles on sheets of paper labeled college, graduate school, work, organizational affiliations, family connections, business contacts, friends, neighbors, leisure time acquaintances.
Ask yourself these questions:
  • With whom have I worked? Include peers, supervisors and subordinates from each job.
  • With whom do I do business? Think of customers, suppliers, attorneys, bankers, accountants, and merchants.
  • From whom have you made major purchases?
  • From whom do you buy things regularly?

Go through a similar process for each time period or life activity. You'll be surprised at the number of contacts you have.
Once you have developed your list of contacts, develop an information system on each person. Note things like employer, title, expertise, interests, and organizational affiliations. comments. Fill in gaps in information as you continue to develop each relationship.
It isn't only who you know, but who your contacts know that can yield insider information and introductions. By knowing as much about your contacts as possible, you can help others make useful connections. When Steven says, "I wish I knew a good career consultant, you can say, "My friend, Beth, told me she really likes her counselor. I'll give you Beth's number."
Whenever you come in contact with people, work at establishing common bonds. Show genuine interest in others. The greatest secret to networking is knowing a large number of people well enough that you feel comfortable saying, "Whom do you know who...." People love to help friends and acquaintances.

Networking Opportunities

A good networker belongs to several organizations and there are many types from which to choose. Among business groups there are industry specific organizations such as the American Bar Association, the Society of Women Engineers, and The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering; groups that are made up of people from many different fields holding similar-level positions, such as like Female Executives or the Chamber of Commerce; and groups whose emphasis is networking like breakfast and luncheon clubs.
If you work for a large company, you can often find opportunities to network internally on committees, through participation through special projects, and as a member of a task force. Some large companies sponsor networking groups or pair people up in mentor/mentor relationships. This involvement is a good way to raise your visibility within your organization, but it is a mistake to make it your only strategy. If you leave your company, you will need a broader contact base. When peers or bosses change jobs, make keeping in touch with them a priority.
Consider joining civic and social organizations, or becoming involved with nonprofit, religious, and political groups. Learning to play popular sports such as golf, tennis, and racquetball keeps you fit and provides a social way to conduct business, which is increasingly important as you move up the career ladder. United Way and Junior Achievement are two organizations that provide an introduction to influential people in many communities.
Once you join a group, the best way to get to know people - and become known - is through active participation. Volunteer. Become a facilitator or speaker, organize or coordinate an event or program, and express your willingness to hold office. Besides making contacts, you'll become more visible.

Networking Basics: These Tips can help you hone your people-cultivating skills.
  • Follow up introductions within ten days
  • Convey friendliness and explore the other person's interests, needs and goals.
  • Offer support, encouragement, and resources readily.
  • Request that others let you know how contacts you have provided work out. Offer further assistance when you are given a progress report.
  • Make your own request specific
  • Express appreciation within 24 hours, and report back within three weeks when you are the recipient of help.
  • Maintain contact with your network between times of need.
  • Praise others, especially in public
  • Have fun, cultivate a sense of humor, and always be sincere.

Personal Public Relations Campaign

Have you ever wondered how head hunters get people's names? They scan organizational directories, newspapers and trade publications, and talk to people in leadership roles to see who is viewed as up and coming.
If you aren't ready to hold office, get to know those who do. Volunteer to write articles for the group's newsletter. Write trade journal articles or letters to editors of industry publications and business magazines. Serve on boards. Host a trade show booth. Appear on radio or T.V. programs. Stage your own P.R. campaign. Get quoted by the media. To achieve the desired effect, establish a tie in to your company or sponsoring organization. Here's how it works:
Let's say you belong to American Society of Training and Development. Offer to speak about a common training problem and explain effective solutions your company has used to deal with the problem. Work with your company's public relations department to submit a press release about your recent speech to the local trade association. Emphasize your company's innovative training solutions. Work with the trade association's publicity chair to produce another press release stressing the importance of members working together to share training solutions to common problems, and naming you as the presenter.
Or, if you belong to The National Rehabilitation Association, offer to chair a committee to develop sensitivity training to take to corporate training departments in your community. Write a press release letting the public know about the community service your organization is providing and naming you as the person who spearheaded the project.
Establishing yourself as an authority will broaden your appeal. Properly executed self-promotion will position you as someone who is visibly connected and involved within your company, industry, and community.
By implementing these techniques, you will increase your chances of being recruited and reduce your chances of being outplaced. If the worst happens, you will be connected and ready to pursue your options.

© Rosanne Beers & Coach University. All rights reserved.

Rosanne Beers is a personal and business coach who helps professionals manage themselves better for a more fulfilling life. She can be reached at (515) 225-1245. She offers a complimentary coaching session to professionals and small business owners upon request. Her web site is located at She can be reached by email at [email protected]

Coach University offers the Coach Training Program at

The contents of this document are for informational purposes only. Please seek professional, legal, and financial advice where applicable.