Network Yourself into Your Next Opportunity

You can always apply for a job online, but most jobs opportunities are found through people you know, your network. However, there is a delicate balance. You can't wait until you need the network to build it and you can't wait until you need a job to tell people that you are looking. This is why creating and developing a strong network is very important. Follow these steps and you are well on your way to securing your next opportunity. 

1. Create A Network -The first step in this process is to actually have a network. What does that mean? It's not just friends and family but professional contacts that you've met through industry related, events, panels and conferences.

2. Build Your Network- Now that you have know new people,  make sure that you are developing this network. Contacting people now and again, checking in, and meeting for coffee or lunch.

3. Add Value to Your Network -  This can be assisting people within your network by sending out their resumes to your contacts, editing their resume or letting them know about upcoming opportunities. This is very important because you can't just show up when you need something. People don't like helping people that feel like they are using them. If you add value to your network in advance, people will be more willing to help you when you need something. 

4. Inform Your Network -  This can be direct or indirect. Indirect: Let people know that you are considering a new opportunities. Direct: Let people know you hate your job and you're looking or you can let them know that you're open to opportunities.

5. Utilize the Network - After building a relationship with people over time you can ask someone you know at a place who is looking and asking them to submit your resume. When people submit resumes on behalf of someone else, these resumes get a closer look. However, people do not want to put themselves out there for those that they don't know well because they are also putting their reputation on the line.

If you follow these steps you are well on your way to networking yourself into your next job.



A few things are unavoidable in the work world, a crowded Starbucks, morning traffic, paper jams and review season. Yep, review season. It is inevitable and it's usually one of the most nerve-racking experiences. There is always something depending on it: increased salary, rank, a bonus, or (in this economy) keeping your job. This article provides a few tips on how to guarantee you get a five star review!

1. Know what is expected of you – Many people start a job and read the job description, but in reality they really don’t know what is expected of them. During the first few days at your new job, ask a lot of questions. Put together what your thoughts are on what you believe is expected of you. Then sit with your boss to go over expectations. If you are not a new hire, it's never too late to get clarification on expectations.

2. Get frequent feedback  – This can be intimidating, but it must be done! Every few months ask your boss about how you are doing. Inquire about what you can improve upon. Don't take this personal because everyone needs to improve in some aspect of their work. It does not have to be formal. You can say things like “how can I make this better next time” or “did this meet your expectations"? If you are meeting expectations, great! If you are not, don't fret, just work on it.  Feedback that is not positive is hard to give, so don't blame your boss if they don't bring it to your attention right away. It's your responsibility to be proactive. If you don’t ask, you won't know.

3. Track your progress and feedback Write it ALL down, especially the good feedback! When your boss says “great job”, “amazing”, "I really like how you did X", etc. Write it down. Write it all down! Also, include the task that it relates to so you have a point of reference.  When its review time you can remind them of why you believe that you are doing well.

4. Ask for more responsibility  – People don’t like to do this, but your value is in what you know! Once you master one thing, learn how to do something else. Your boss will see you as a go-getter and will appreciate the request. Your boss might be so consumed with other things that they do not remember to help you expand your skills sets. But at the end of the day, this is up to you.

5. Help out – Other people in the company will need help on tasks and projects. Is it your job? No. But it doesn’t hurt to help someone out? No. More often then not, they will return the favor. Put this in your notes and mention it to your boss. Don’t look at it as bragging or trying to make your colleagues look bad. This shows that you are a team player. You deserve to be recognized for it.

6. Identify your own areas of improvement – After a few months you will know what you need to work on. Don’t wait until review time to tackle this. Go to your boss and let them know what you want to improve upon and ask for their help. It might be as simple as saying “I want to get better at XYZ, do you have any suggestions?" Your boss will appreciate that you are coming to them to learn how to improve.

If you follow this advice, you are well on your way to getting great reviews from your boss!