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Nurture Your Network Before You Need It


I had dinner with an old friend the other evening.

He head recently gone through a pretty tough time.  His company was downsizing and he lost his job.  This was on December 20.  He landed a new job by the end of January.  He didn’t settle for just any job either.  He landed an executive position with another company in his industry and is making more than he did in his previous job.

I knew he would land a job quickly, but I was surprised by just how quickly he did.  When I asked him how he came in contact with his new company, he told me that he had been referred to them by a friend he worked with about 20 years ago.  She left that company but they stayed in touch.  Every couple of months they would chat on the phone or have dinner.

She called him to wish him happy holidays the day after he lost his job.  He told her about his situation.  She commiserated and told him to keep his head up, enjoy the holidays and start his job search after the new year.

She called him back on January 3 or 4 with a job lead.  Long story short, she recommended him, he got the job and all’s well.

This brings me to an important bit of life and career success advice…

Build and nurture a strong personal network before you need it.

If you wait until you need something from others to begin networking, you’re too late.  My friend stayed in touch with his old colleague for many years.  They spoke on the phone, had dinner, celebrated successes and promotions, commiserated when things weren’t going great.  In other words, they did what friends do.  And when you come right down to it, that’s what networking is all about – building and maintaining friendships.

My friend’s story is a great illustration of networking.  He and she have a genuine relationship that has grown strong over the years.  To put it into Stephen Covey’s words, they both had big balances in each other’s emotional bank accounts (If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)  Both of them had made regular deposits over the years.   When my friend needed some help, she was willing to do so because of their strong relationship.

This reminds me of the career advice in Tweet 129 in my book Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less.  “There is no quid pro quo in effective relationships.”  In other words, build your network by building strong relationships with others – not because they might be able to help you, but because you value them as human beings.  Networking should be a never-ending process for you.  Don’t wait to network.  Do it now.  Be a friend.  Build strong relationships.  Do this and your network will be there for you when you need it.

You can download a free copy of Success Tweets by going to http://budurl.com/STExpl/  I hope you do and put the advice inside to good use as you go about creating the life and career success you deserve.

Read more posts by Bud Bilanich, Ed.D., The Common Sense Guy, a career success coach, leadership consultant, motivational speaker, bestselling author and influential blogger.


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