Make us your home page
Instagram

Network at your new job

After you've successfully completed a job search, shouldn't professional networking be the last thing on your mind? Not so, say networking experts. In fact, internal networking, right from the beginning, is key to maintaining the upward trajectory of your career. Here's how to successfully launch your networking campaign at a new job.

Why network when you're still "the new one"?

"When you start in a job, you're going to be judged early, and you want to be judged as someone who makes things happen," says Richard Moran, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock Associates. Introducing yourself to co-workers in a wide range of roles is a good way to begin.

So networking is important from the get-go. But given your newbie status, your internal networking should be carefully calibrated. Soon after you start a job, "you've got to increase your visibility, but without being pompous," says Bill Behn, managing director for financial staffing firm SolomonEdwardsGroup.

Whom to network with

Even early on, your network needs to go beyond the folks in adjoining cubes — without embracing everyone on the payroll. But where to begin?

"Start your networking with people who started the same job you have about a year ago, because they'll tell you what you're going to be measured on," advises Moran.

After that, says Gayle Lantz, president of consulting firm WorkMatters Inc., "ask your boss who the most important people are for you to meet."

Next, seek out people with more clout, Moran says. "Organizations have samurai who are out there doing the big stuff every day, and you have to figure out who they are and whether you can become one," he adds.

How to make internal networking happen

When you're new on the job, you want to make a lot of contacts fairly quickly while also building your reputation as a hard worker. "You don't want to be the person who's hanging out at everyone's cubicle," says Brendan Courtney, a senior vice president at staffing firm Spherion. "You want to take advantage of those opportunities that happen during lunch or while you're getting coffee."

When you're asking for more substantial advice, be mindful of your colleagues' full schedules. "Breakfast, before the workday starts, is a good time to pick people's brains," Courtney suggests.

Cast your network across the entire company

It's also important to extend your network beyond your department or division.

"There's a body of research that says that your weaker ties get you jobs; your stronger ties are mostly to people who already know each other," says Jeanne Hurlbert, president of Optinet Resources LLC and a professor of sociology at Louisiana State University. "Strong ties can have positive payoffs in terms of promotion."

So look for opportunities to branch out. "Volunteer to serve on a cross-functional team," advises Lantz. "Meeting regularly with people from other departments is an ideal way to network and learn about other aspects of the business."

A mentor can supercharge your networking efforts

Especially when you're a rookie, a mentor can be a great help in extending the upward reach of your internal network.

"There are usually three or four people who set the tone of the company's value system," says Courtney. "It's good to have one of them as your mentor; someone who can help prepare you for your next step in the organization."

But, Courtney cautions, do tread carefully when choosing a mentor. "If you're creating a mentor relationship outside your immediate manager, you have to let your manager know," he says.

Take your time and let your network work

Finally, most of your internal networking efforts should be low-key and informal. "If you set up too many meetings too early, people will think, 'What does this guy want from me?'" says Behn.

And although networking is important, many other priorities will compete for your attention in the beginning. Says Moran: "You don't have to start networking before lunch on your first day."

Network at your new job 05/23/14 [Last modified: Friday, May 23, 2014 10:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.

    Corporate

    DETROIT — Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the United States today.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  4. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  5. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.