Don’t Forget to Nurture Your Network

Don’t Forget to Nurture Your Network
Photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

You have probably heard numerous times that the key to career success is networking, and that an ever-growing list of connections will breed critical information, secure job leads, and score big interviews.


People tend to approach networking by seeking to expand their network with new contacts. But it's also critical to nurture your current relationships. Here are a few tips to access that potential.


Don't Break the Link: For every new connection you make on LinkedIn, take the time to reach out to someone already in your network. Ask them how you can support them in their professional career or job search process. Then keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to make an introduction to others in your network when you see a good fit.


[RELATED: MOAA on LinkedIn]


Show Your School Spirit: Alumni groups represent sprawling networks reaching into every industry, sector, and geographic location. Update your contact information, utilize social media to reconnect, attend in-person and virtual events, and offer your expertise to help others. Even class reunions can put you in touch with someone you haven’t seen in years, that you might be able to help or have surprising connections to support you.  


Go With the Pros: Has your membership in a professional association lapsed, or are you a member in name only? Some of these groups may offer certifications/credentials, continuing education classes, networking platforms, or even host an active job board. Whether it be at the national level or if they have local chapters or affiliates in your community, get involved!


[RELATED: More Networking and Social Media Advice From MOAA]


People in your network can't help unless they know you need assistance. Once they are aware, most will be glad for the opportunity to support you in achieving your professional goals and career aspirations. And, along the way, you will earn the reputation as someone who is ready and available to help others, too.


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.