Networking Tips That Won't Blow Your Cover
Caroline M.L. Potter | HotJobs
If you’ve got a job, you probably want to hold on to it until you find another one, even if it’s less than ideal. But remember, in most states, employment is at-will, meaning you can be fired for almost any reason (so long as it is not discriminatory) — including looking for a new position.
So how can a job seeker tap the full power of her network without blowing her cover with her boss? Use these tips from national workplace columnist and career advisor Liz Ryan to keep your job search under wraps.
• Tell Your People — in Person: Ryan says your network is your best resource for finding new opportunities, but use it with caution. “Because even our most well-meaning friends can inadvertently spill the beans in unfortunate ways, it’s best to share this news in person, while you’re looking in someone’s eyes,” she says. This will allow you to stress how important discretion is.
• Mix and Mingle: Start going to face-to-face networking events to expand your network. To keep things discrete, Ryan advises, “Don’t announce, ’I’m job-hunting.’ Instead, tell other attendees, ‘I work for XYZ company doing A, B and C. Of course, like everyone else, I’ve got my eyes open right now.’”
• Build Your Profile to Raise Your Profile: Network from the comfort of your own home by expanding your LinkedIn profile (or creating one if you don’t already have one). “Build your LinkedIn profile and your LinkedIn network by inviting friends and colleagues — all but the people you work with right now — to join your network,” Ryan says.
• Tap Your Resources When Doing Research: When thinking about where you want to work next, Ryan says look first to your network. “Begin to research employers and reach out to them through trusted friends and colleagues who either work there now, used to work there or know people who can make introductions to the employer for you.”
• Expand Your Network and Knowledge Online: Another way to build your network is to participate in online discussion groups. “Look for groups devoted to job-search and career topics to grow your knowledge base and contacts,” Ryan says.