The world is full of connections. When I say this, I mean that when you are introduced to someone through a friend or contact, their network will most likely have at least someone in it who you already know, and dozens of others who are just a mutual aquaintance away. The problem is, when you meet someone face to face you don't immediately know who’s in their network, or what doors this connection might be opening for you. For this reason you should always:
A) Consider every introduction valuable and B) never burn bridges.
Luckily today, networking is made even easier by my favorite social tool for professionals – LinkedIn. With LinkedIn’s platform, many of your invisible connections are exposed! You can view your 2nd and even 3rd degree connections through others in your network. You can view their profile and find people you may already know or someone you might be interested in meeting.
As a professional, your current connections are important to have and maintain; think of them as an investment in your future. . .
Connections that I built during my first job as a marketing coordinator have helped me through my career to this day! For example, five of my former colleagues wrote recommendations for me on LinkedIn, and during an interview I had later on down the road with a new company, their positive comments about my work habits and experience were noted by the hiring manager and viewed as an asset to my resume.
I have also found that contacts I’ve made in past engagements are helpful when starting a new job position. You can reach out to these people for help by asking for advice. This happened for me when I started a new marketing role where I had a lot of graphic design responsibility and minimal experience. I asked one of the senior designers at my previous work place a few questions, and he was more than happy to help; then I sent him his favorite cupcakes to thank him. These types of gestures are important to keep relationships strong and let your contact know that you appreciate their help and don’t take it for granted. In another instance, I had built some good relationships with vendors I’d used in a past job to purchase materials, and called upon their services again in my new position, even after not having dealt with them for many years.
You never know when a connection can lead you straight to whatever you’re looking for. If you see someone in your network on LinkedIn who is connected to someone high up at the advertising firm you would just love to work for, drop them a line, and ask for an introduction!
Enjoy building your network by making and maintaining connections… it is a very valuable investment in your future.