“Yes, you can!” You most definitely can, network at work. You should look at your current employer as a place for this--a place to maximize your potential. No matter what size the company, you can make the most of it by professional networking in-house.
As it may or may not seem, I never intentionally networked at work. It seemed to have just happened through daily interaction, and I am sure glad it did. I worked with various departments; I worked with efficiency and with a strong sense of business efficacy. People understand that I knew my craft well, and projects were always completed with pride. When these employees went on to other companies, they would always refer me if an HR opening became available. I had opportunities to interview with great organizations through my prior work contacts. To this day, there are at least three of those companies that reach out to me every once in a while, and that feels awesome!
*Here's how to get started*
To network at work, you must deliberately get to know employees who work in different departments. You can’t sit back and silence yourself. Take initiative. You have to make sure your conversations involve your education and work experience. The key is not to be braggadocios; you simply want to let other employees know your unique skill set and experience. This kind of information stays with people. Trust me when I say, they will remember you. Conversations at work are easily recollected when you network with people of common interest. And when there comes that time they are in need of someone with your background and knowledge, do not hesitate to answer their phone call!
*When you approach the employee*
At first you are a little uncomfortable, but you should have a sense by now of which employees you would like to work with again in the future. If you are unfamiliar with the men and women in the next room, start with someone you work with closely. At your own pace, branch out by gaining small details of others you believe are prime choice—simply ask your close co-worker for someone’s name and continue, “he seems experienced, what did he do before this job?” Your next move will be to start a conversation with the selected person. “Hey, aren’t you…? I heard you have a science degree…” Don’t forget to smile!
It is important to note that you always network with employees who look well-grounded in their careers. People who are going somewhere. These employees will work for many employers until they find success, and usually, those employers are well established companies.
*The goal of networking*
You want to receive personal recommendations from former co-workers who can cite your qualifications by memory (when hearing their boss speak of a job opening, he or she will say, ‘I remember that nice person who was good at that’). There is nothing like a possible employer calling you because of someone you used to work with who has told them all these wonderful things about you!
You can always register with a search firm or browse the web for vertical career moves, but when you network correctly, you will minimize the need to do either because your connections will naturally do this for you.
*Still hesitant to network? Start now!*
Tell me about your work experience and special skills. What makes you, you? Reach out to me @CorporateMoxie or Facebook: Corporate Moxie